Day One in Chiang Mai

Trip Start Jan 13, 2013
Trip End Feb 05, 2013

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spent the morning at Chaing Mai University with lecture and presentations by Professor Vithi Phanichphant - a professor of Thai art & culture.  Saw traditional Lanna (northern Thai)  houses that have been moved to museum here.  Great description of a matriarchal society (no longer - Thailand is quite westernized now).  Simple housing beautifully adapted to using available materials and coping with the hot, humid environment.

Young Lanna performers were amazing - etiquette (which is really complicated!!), dance, music. Then had the best pad thai ever - cooked in a wok over a fire.  Fresh fruit for dessert.  I know the travel medicine people say not to eat anything that you haven't peeled and cut yourself, but the fuirt is too wonderful to resist.  I have completely fallen in love with mangesteens and pataya (dragon fruit)

 Then visited Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep - a Buddhist temple in which a relic of Buddha is contained in a large gold stupa.  The relic of Doi Suthep is the Buddha's shoulder bone which has crystalised to become as hard as mineral.

 Today was the graduation for Chiang Mai University and so the temple was filled with graduates and their families who had come there to give thanks and to be blessed.

Then a lovely dinner outside along the Maeping River.  And a walk through the Sunday market - a market sponsored by Thai government that does not charge vendors for space.  Goal is to allow local crafts people and farmers to sell their items.  The spots along the street for the daily Night Markets are too expensive for them. Returned to hotel via a took took - which was a hair-raising adventure - way more scary than NYC cabs!!

 Leaving hotel at 6:30 AM tomorrow

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