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Thursday, 24 January 2008

DIA 79-83 - Dias de lagrimas y rosas

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, meaning new city, is actually a very old city. Chiang Mai was built in the 13th century and is the largest city in the north and the cultural center of Thailand! with much spiritual and historical significance. There are more than three hundred wats (temples) within the old city gates. Wats, wats, wats everywhere! Many of the wats are still used as gathering points to pray, to meet and to study.
Historically temples served as the educating centers of towns and cities. Young boys over eight would spend one or two years in the temples as derk wats (temple kids) in hopes of earning a higher education. Temples still mark a central place in towns and villages serving as school houses and community meeting spaces. Here in Chang mai the wats are also very busy places. By day, young monks sit under a shaded tree and laugh and gossip like young boys do. Old men observe the world pass by, while a young woman bows on her knees to a golden Buddha inside the temple. Tourists take photos of the mosaic decor. When evening falls young monks flood the streets in streams golden saffron, scattering after a busy day of studies.
The city has an air of peace that blows down from the mountains of the north to rice patty plains of the south, but the heart of the city pumps and pulses. motors and scooters zoom about, loaded with one, two or three passengers, sidesaddle or cuddled close and holding on for the ride. Small crooked and cobbled streets fill the inner gates of the city center. Morning laughter and evening mantras break heavy scents of masaman curry that set in every corner avoiding hot afternoon sun.

The city attracts people from all over the world, drawn to the culture and quality of living that the city offers. Here many come to stay, opting to make Chaing mai more than just a day stop on the travel itinerary. Here you can study anything. Lots of men come to study muay thai (boxing), almost every traveler takes a day cooking course during there stay, and groups and individuals alike come to study the painful yet pleasureful art of thai massage (a luxury to any traveler at $3 per hour). Yoga and meditaion classes are also available with classes ranging from one to twenty six days programs. Other options are art, language, and other more esoteric healing programs such as the very deep tissue ancient healing massage or Chi Nei Tsang stomach massage...

For the last couple of weeks I have been "riding the cosmic waves", like my friend Shari would say. Yoga with Agama has been wonderful. It was really cool to stay in a city like Chang Mai while learning and practicing yoga. I also met wonderful people that I love and will miss... and will see again. Chang mai is a city to come back to, next time with more money, more time and more room (in my bags). Diego and Angel arrived with time to take care of some travel details, dental checks, china visas, etc, while delighting on the fabulous variety of vegetarian restaurants. Now there is nothing keeping us here, but the desire to relax, do yoga, be with friends and eat well... it is a hard decision...

Chiang Mai. Una ciudad recostada en un abrazo montaคoso. Un corazon formado por un laberinto de estrechos callejones donde templos budistas, dentistas, masagistas y "tatuistas" se repiten cada pocos metros.

Aqui nos deleitamos con su cocina, sufrimos con sus dentistas y bailamos con su musica fundidos en la marcha tailandesa. Alli sentimos su energia, nos juntamos con viejos y nuevos amigos y pusimos a punto nuestras monturas. Alla nos tatuamos los cuerpos y nos dibujamos un precios visado chino en nuestros pasaportes.


JOSAN said...

Buenas superpedaletos!
Unas líneas para daros fuerzas, ánimos y mucha suerte, que a mí me transmitis mucha alegría y sobre todo envidia. He descubierto vuestro blog por una pequeña noticia del diario Qué de Zaragoza y me parece que lo que estáis haciendo es impresionante. Soy muy aficionado a los viajes con alforjas, pero nada comparable a lo vuestro.
Mi más sincera enhorabuena, de verdad que valoro mucho lo que estáis haciendo. Pienso seguir vuestras andanzas a través de este portal.
Un abrazo superpedaletos,

Anonymous said...

Hola Josan, muchas gracios por tus animos!! si te animas ya sabes mas o menos donde encontrarnos.

Un abrazo y buen pedal