Sadly, we left Chiang Mai today but we were able to see one last thing before we left, Wat Doi Suthep. Possibly the most important temple in Chiang Mai, it is said by residents of the city that you cannot claim to have visited unless you've seem this mountainside temple.
It was about a forty-five minute drive to the temple up winding mountain roads. At times it was very slow going because even with all the twists and turns the road was quite steep. Upon arrive our hostess walked us in to pay our admission and there she encouraged us to spend the 20 baht (about sixty-five cents) to take the tram up the rest of the mountain while assuring us that we were more than welcome to take the stairs back down after we had finished.
Wat Doi Suthep.
The pagoda at Wat Doi Suthep.
What I am really rather excited about is that each temple in Thailand is associated with an animal from the Thai astrological calendar and Doi Suthep is associated with my animal, the goat. So, with that background, after finishing our tour of the temple we were left waiting for our hostess who brought us and had promised to take us on to the airport afterwards. She had come to pray properly, not just gawk, so I volunteered to walk back through the temple to make sure she didn't sneak out when we weren't looking. In short order I espied her praying at one of the shrines so I kept walking, taking in the ambiance, and then noticed there was a monk by one of the Buddhas.
I didn't have any good pictures of monks so I thought I might take one of him so I doffed by shoes and entered the temple. Not wanting to be conspicuous I took a seat with about eight other people who were praying and took a couple pictures. The devout then turned from the Buddha towards them monk who proceeded to bless all of us. Out of respect I stopped taking pictures and only resumed when the gathering began to disperse and when I got the picture I made a donation to the temple and went to rejoin Brad and Manuel.
The monk who blessed me at the temple dedicated to my astrological sign.
The temple is filled with bells, there are little bells lacing the roofline.
And bells big enough for small children to live in.
Like all Buddhist temples in Thailand there were dogs...
Even ants made an appearance...
Shortly after rejoining Brad and Manuel prayers were completed and we returned to the car to be spirited off to the airport. What seemed like moments later we were in the air, making our way south to Phuket.
We arrived about two hours later and quickly found transportation to our hotel. I say hotel but it really is a self-contained resort. There are simple rooms like ours and there are fancy rooms and then there are villas on the property. With multiple pools and beach frontage there is no lack of places to relax. The only downside is that we are a little far removed from all the activities of Phuket but the point right now is to relax so I think this will be ideal.
The building in which our room is located. All that sand is raked flat multiple times per day to keep the place looking pristine.
One of the smaller villas.
And one of the multiple bars, this is the one nearest the beach.
A view of the lobby from our room after the sun set.
Sunset on the beach.
Once we got settled we decided to have dinner at one of the small outdoor places just down the road. The food was unremarkable but there were special guests. We had a small underfed looking dog lurking nearby. While I didn't want to cause trouble by encouraging him to beg he was so pathetic I threw him some of my fish. We also had tons of geckos running around above us and then more when we returned to our rooms. I am going to try to make them all my minions...
Loads of delicious little geckos that have gathered near the light to eat the insects that are attracted.
Our sad little canine friend.
Tomorrow I have nothing planned while Brad and Manuel go off to try their hand at scuba diving. I enjoy diving, I'm even certified, but the weather doesn't look conducive to pleasant dive conditions so I have bowed out.