Today begins Day 2 of my week at Wat Doi Saket, a decently large temple complex about a half an hour east of Chiang Mai (for those of you who like maps as much as me, click here). The Wat Doi Saket project is the flagship program of Atma Seva, so I’m following in the footsteps of other volunteers that have come through the wat. Most volunteers come for a month or two (or more) to teach English, but I’m only here for a week to get a taste of the experience before heading off to a remote hill tribe somewhere north of here.
Things out in Doi Saket are much quieter than Chiang Mai. Well, maybe quieter isn’t the right word. Calmer, less frenzied. I guess this makes sense since my fellow companions at the wat are about 120 monks! I’m adjusting to the sounds of the wat, which include incessant chirping, honking (what sound DOES a boar make?), the Thai chatter of teenage novice monks, and animal sounds of an unknown origin outside my window ~3am. It’s quite fun!
The wat and surrounding grounds are beautiful, at every time of the day. I’m doing my best to get out and explore whenever I can. It’s amazing how different the same statue or monument looks at day break, noon and after dark. My favorite so far is the giant buddha:
It’s really hard to snap a picture that really encapsulates just how huge this thing is. Just trust me when I say that it’s HUGE.
Besides wandering around and taking pictures of shiny things, I’ve also started some work. Looks like my Chiang Mai honeymoon week is over. Whomp. Dave and I went over a broad outline of my time here and some of the goals we hope to accomplish in the next four months. I can’t really complain, though, since our work session was held at an adorable little open air cafe over an iced latte and green tea. To give you a sense of how trusting and safe it is out here, we left our laptops on the cafe table while we took a quick drive down the street to pick up some lunch. I was a little hesitant at first, but Dave is friendly with the woman who owns the shop and assured me that they wouldn’t go anywhere (and they didn’t!) Back in the states, I barely trust my laptop alone in Starbucks if I have to run to the restroom ten feet away. I can already tell that readjusting to that when I go home is going to be tough.
Anyways, it’s a new day over here in Thailand, so I should be out exploring. I’ve been debating how badly I need a shower since the idea of washing in cold water doesn’t sound too tempting on this chilly, cloudy morning. Yesterday it was “invigorating,” today it just sounds straight up cold and unpleasant.
I’ll leave you with one last picture that I took the other day at the “mini zoo” up the hill…
Until next time,