Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai

Wat Rong Khun is located just outside of Chiang Rai where I live. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Yesterday was my third trip there and I’m pretty sure I’ll return again from time to time. 40 of my favorite photographs from Wat Rong Khun can be seen at: http://picasaweb.google.com/113290260645426358459/WatRongKhun#   I'm just curious, which one is your favorite?

I have no intention of plagiarizing all the information that’s easily available. I will give you a very brief summary of what I’ve learned thus far. The temple is in its 13th year of construction and may take another 90 to complete. The artist used white to represent the Buddha’s purity. The place literally glitters with tiny mirrors which symbolizes Buddhist teachings.

Wat Rong Khun

Photography is prohibited inside the temple so you will have to take my word for this. There is an amazing mural that encompasses the whole of the room. At the back is a demon which transcends to angelic enlightenment in the front. The eyes of the demon contain two faces. The left eye contains Bin Laden and the right eye contains George W. Bush! There are many little scenes depicting human evil and suffering including the twin towers.

To the left of the main temple is an ornate golden colored building, known as the golden toilet. I have read that all of the art at Wat Rong Khun is filled with Buddhist riddles; the buildings, the decorations, the murals, everything.
Golden Toilet building at Wat Rong Khun

If you want to know more just do a google search for “Wat Rong Khun”. You can also do a google search for "Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat", the artist who is responsible for the project. Better yet, put Chiang Rai on your list of places to visit during your next vacation!  

My fellow tourists at Wat Rong Khun

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reflection, Recognition and Direction

Dear Gentle Reader,.

It's time for a bit of reflection, recognition and direction.

A very brief summary: For the benefit of those who have not read previous journals, if any of this posting is too brief let me know and I'll send the old journal (s) to you. Having moved the journal here, I'll be able to include some photos. However, for now the majority will be posted as they have been for the last month or so. Specifically:.

October 2009:. http://s935.photobucket.com/albums/ad200/jnelson1944/Oct09
November 2009:. http://s935.photobucket.com/albums/ad200/jnelson1944/Nov09
December 2009:. http://s935.photobucket.com/albums/ad200/jnelson1944/Dec09 And.
January 2010:. http://s935.photobucket.com/albums/ad200/jnelson1944/January_2010
February 2010:. .h.ttp: / / s935.photobucket. / Albums/ad200/jnelson1944/February_2010
March 2010:. http://s935.photobucket.com/albums/ad200/jnelson1944/March2010
April 2010:. http://s935.photobucket.com/albums/ad200/jnelson1944/April2010

I came to Thailand the 1st of October with the understanding that I would be a teacher of English in an Akha village north of Chiang Rai. The kids were great! Truth is kids all over the world are great.

A few.of the Akha children, 7 - 9 year old class. 

Aw shucks, I have a girl friend and sometimes it feels like I'm a teenager again (this is a good thing). The plan of record is that Maliwan will join me here in Chiang Rai in mid-May. There are a million tentative plans including the possibility that we may re-locate to Chiang Mai at some point.

Maliwan, Thanksgiving Day 2009 - BTS in Bangkok

In January I finished the TEFL course in Phuket and am now finishing the "Business English" additional skills course on line. Teaching English is always an option here in Thailand.

I spent the month of March in Chiang Mai. While there I took a one month Thai language course. This may have done some good, or not. I'm never sure how much of this magical language I'm retaining. I do know that I understand a lot more than I did two or three months ago. I'm even doing a bit of studying to learn to read. It's a trip!

There are several really good philanthropic opportunities here in Thailand, and one or two that a person would be well advised to avoid. Recently I had the honor of meeting a gentleman by the name of Bryan Walker who has an online book on volunteerism. You can check it out at. http://www.voluntaryhumanitarianwork.com/ It's well worth your time if you are at all interested in volunteerism.

When I spoke with Bryan he mentioned the Chiang Mai University Language Institute now has a Cultural Exchange Program. I met with their program director, Maria Cappon last week. I'll be joining their program in early May. More on that in a future journal. You can find them at:. http://www.teflcmu.com/

I pretty much fell in love with the Elephant Nature Park and will be working with them. Check out. http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/ and. http://www.elephantnaturefoundation.org./

Have you ever been kissed by an elephant? I have..

One of their partners is the Taste from Heaven vegetarian restaurant in Chiang Mai. I'm not a vegetarian yet but I have to tell you it's my favorite place in Chiang Mai. Check it out at. http://www.taste4heaven.com/ and if you are ever in Chiang Mai don't miss a chance to eat there. They even have one day cooking classes. I'll let you know more about that in a future journal.

Lastly, I have joined the 46th Special Forces Company (Airborne) Association. They are doing good work here in Thailand. Check them out at http://www.46thsfca.org/ I had the honor of serving in the 46th SFCA from August of 1967 to August of 1969. I hope to become involved in several of their projects, especially the schools they support in the North.

That's enough for today!