lolamatopoeia: (show me yours!)
[personal profile] lolamatopoeia
Today I learned that travelling in the back of a truck up and down a winding mountain road when the driver has a lead foot, especially around sharp corners, will induce motion sickness in even the strongest stomach. I almost never get motion sickness but I swear I turned green in the back of that truck up to Doi Suthep and back. I had to throw up in my mouth a few times just to avoid public puking at a big touristy temple place. No one likes a puker.

Doi Suthep was beautiful. We were told that if you don't go to Doi Suthep, you haven't really seen Chiang Mai. It's this series of gilded temples on top of a mountain where you can overlook the entire city. A pretty magical sight. It was a very busy touristy place though, like many of the beautiful sights here. I know that it was something I had to see, and it really was amazing and majestic, that temple at the side of mountain, but I have a fair amount of difficulty with religious sites. I can't quite pinpoint what it is that makes me feel so uncomfortable about these places. Maybe it's because the religion I was closest to, although I wasn't raised religiously, was protestant and anabaptist. This is what I have known as religion. I was raised to believe that it's not the building - the temple, the wat, the church, the cathedral - that matters. You can practice your religion anywhere, at any time, and any site could be your church and your gathering place to worship. Faith and holiness is not in the building but in the way you live your life. I can accept that other religions don't work this way at all and that some truly believe that their buildings are holy sites that need to be adorned and worshipped and revered, but I ... I just don't get it sometimes. It also just feels wrong for me to be in such a place taking pictures to illustrate how beautiful it is when I have no personal connection to the site. I'm not quite sure what to do about this yet, or how to process it but I've got one heck of a lot more holy sites to see before the end of this trip so I hope that I'll find a way to reconcile things for myself soon.

Just as I'd been given a slight recovery from a vomit inducing descent from the mountain, we switched drivers at the zoo to get us to the neighbourhood recommended to us for some artsy crafts and such. Two more groups of people joined us in the back of the truck at the zoo - a painfully attractive couple from Brazil and a fun group of two Americans and their friend from Australia. The Brazilian girl slightly grated on us through the drive - complaining about how the drivers in Thailand don't speak English and yelling at and treating our driver like he was an idiot. She was kind and sweet and fun with us though. The other group seemed much more our speed - very friendly and personable and interesting to talk with. We had to leap out of the truck before we knew it though, mid conversation it seemed, and we didn't get a chance to catch their names. They told us where they were staying and offered us to join them on their three day trek and then they were off. We're finding a lot of moments like that on this trip. There are just so many great people out there in the world. I keep reminding myself about what Sam, in Bangkok, said as we left - 'Remember, you'll always meet someone at least twice in your life'.

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July 2009

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