Welcome to our Travel Journal -- Round The World 2004-2005 travel blog

Tis is a worshipper at the Thai Royal Palace in Chiang Mai...

Gian Bamboo at the Royal Palace -- that is Darlene at the...

These poinsiettas grow as large trees here.

An elephant hat and a proud grandmother.

At 3500 feet, the airport below, this would be a nice view...

We moved here on day 2 -- Riverview Guest House, a great...

Worshippers at the guest house.

We arrived safely in Chaing Mai on January 7.On arrival in Chiang Mai, our luggage was lost. There was a couple of ex Sasakatchewanites there as well, who had just arrived from Edmonton, and their luggage was lost. They live in Chiang Mai, and we haddinner with them on sunday evening - Nickki and Terry Gamble.

Our hotel booked from Calgary was a major disappointment - ½ hour outside the city, cold without a heater in the room, unclean, and poorly maintained. We chose to cut our losses, leave the room we had paid for and came to Chiang Mai to a lovely guesthouse.

Up the mountain at 4500 feet is a palace for the king, and we visited that - very beautiful. We then stopped at Wat Phra Doi Suthep, first established in 1383, and spent on hour with a monk, learning about meditation. After our session with the monk, I understood why this way of thought has been embraced by many, especially those in a 12 step program. Buddhism does not focus on a higher power, as much as if focuses on selflessness. I cannot summarize Buddhism and meditation, but I can say what I heard --

Stress, impermanence, and the nonessential nature of reality are central truths. Even the most blissful and refined states of mind are subject to decay - they are transient. The past does not exist. The future does not exist. "Now" exists, and we cannot control what comes into our mind. Our feelings of indifference (which masks ignorance), anger, or happiness may cause us to be unhealthy. They cause us to try to hold onto experience, states of mind, and objects that are constantly changing. When we meditate, we accept our thoughts and feelings, and we let them go, by focusing on the here and now. We stop, we sit, and we focus on peace, on our breathing, and on acceptance of life as it is, now.

There are many Buddhist Wats here, and many are very beautiful. This is a very accepting culture.

Today, We will be moving on to Lampang to visit the elephant training centre.

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