Today, I suddenly realized that it has been more than a week since I posted anything and, when I look back over what I have done, I realize that, yes, the country is growing on me and I am beginning to overlook those things which other people might find fascinating. I will have to backtrack and snap a few photos of those things and blog about them another time. But I also want to issue an invitation: While I may be able to write about many things in my blog, there is nothing like visiting this country to see for yourself what life is really like here. And that invitation is not as far out there as it might have been a generation ago. Take a look at the sign for Central Plaza, one of the shopping malls (impossible to imagine when I was a child) in Chiangmai. Do you recognize anything? Yes, KFC, Sizzler, Pizza Hut, and McDonald’s have all found their way across the ocean to Chiangmai. If they can make it here to do business, you can make it here to visit and learn about this country. I invite you to do that.
Today was an overcast and rainy day. It is the monsoon season and today, it lived up to its billing and rained all day. The rain came in with thunder and lightning before dawn and varied between heavy downpours and steady rainfall all day long. The river is up quite a bit and there is flooding to the northwest. As I write this, another downpour has begun. I had to go out today to pay my monthly bill for Internet access at the house. Because of the rain, I chose indoor parking – something which was never an option when I was here as a child. But Central Plaza has four floors of indoor parking, so I stayed dry. As you can see, several other people had the same idea.
But, take a look outside at the back parking lot. Not too many takers on this rainy Monday, but those lots are full on the weekends. There is a beautiful courtyard and fountain, but only one person was out there today. In the distance, you can see the mountains – the foothills of the Himalayas. Chiangmai sits in a valley surrounded by lush forests, teaming rice paddies, and these lovely foothills. During the rainy season, the hills are often covered with clouds and mists and it is not possible to see the King’s Summer Palace and the Temple that sit on the hill high above the city. In the rainy season, it is also rare for tourists to see the spectacular view of the valley from the Temple plaza. But, if you like falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof – and if you are tired of watering your garden – this is your season! Come and visit. See for yourself.