Hundreds of steps lead up to the temple called Wat Suthep
As the train pulled into Chiang Mai, I glimpsed my friend, Dave waiting patiently just as he’d promised. What a great guy and good friend – picking me up at the station, and whisking me through the city, pointing out some landmarks and sites before pulling up at a favorite restaurant where we ate a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt and muesli accompanied by steaming lattes. Now that’s a pleasant arrival. I am blessed indeed!
Dave lives in the Chiang Mai area where he and his Burmese wife, Fai, have bought a condo in the city as well as a house up in the village of Arunothai that borders Burma. The village dwelling is large enough to house several of her family members who were able make the move into Thailand and try a chance at a better life. A small store in a separate building on the property sells sundries, bringing in some cash for the whole family.
Bonnie and her mother, Fai
But today we were in Chiang Mai, and after breakfast we drove over to their condo which borders the university and I met Fai for the first time and their beautiful and precocious 3-year-old daughter, Bonnie. The child instantly began gabbling to me in a curious mixture of Thai, Chinese and English. Dave explained that they are raising her to be trilingual. Her first language is a Yunnan Chinese that Fai and her Burmese family speak. And of course since she lives in Thailand, she is fairly proficient at Thai, and she is quickly learning English.
“People say if you don’t see the Wat Suthep temple you haven’t seen Chiang Mai,” Dave said. “I thought that would be the place to go today.” I readily agreed and the whole family packed up for an excursion up the mountain to the temple and surrounding environs.
The mountain known as Doi Suthep rises huge and majestic in the haze to the west of the city. One of the first things Dave pointed out is that no matter how lost you get you can look to the mountain, know that it is west, and then orient yourself that way. A good tip for me – the one always getting lost! Continue reading