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July 13th 2012
Published: July 15th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Wat Lok Molee 1Wat Lok Molee 1Wat Lok Molee 1

Wat Lok Molee 1
Back in Chiang Mai .. again... to visit the Best Friend library, and see what help is needed. I decided to be completely habitual, and stay above my favourite bar, at Rider's Corner.

They say its the low season because of rain, but it hasn't been that rainy...

This travel blog has some very big gaps in it. I guess that's because the last few trips I've been busy and / or haven't felt a pressing need to publish my experiences. Nor has there been the need to use the blog to keep those at home or work informed, as email and skype have performed that function quite well in Thailand, where the last few visits have been.

These missing trips have been a continuum in a way. It started with the adventure of several weeks of solo motorcycling in northern Thailand, based out of Chiang Mai. On that trip I fell in love with Mae Hong Son and Shan culture, and decided that I'd quite like to “put something back in”, rather than be the completely consuming traveller. So a plan to volunteer at an orphanage, and live in Mae Hong Son while doing it, was born.
Wat Lok Molee 2Wat Lok Molee 2Wat Lok Molee 2

Wat Lok Molee Buddha
So next trip I brought my partner Vicki along to experience Chiang Mai and surrounds, and to explore my plan more. Tentative arrangements were made with a Mae Hong Son orphanage and after some time I took two months Long Service leave and headed for Mae Hong Son, although contact with the orphanage was proving difficult.. and ultimately impossible.

This left me wandering Northern Thailand. I headed for Mae Sot, but couldn't really connect with volunteer organisations, so I went back to ChiangMai, prepared to put “Plan B” into action. But luckily fate stepped in, and I stumbled upon the Best Friend Burmese Library. I needed a task: they needed a librarian!

This was the most wonderful experience of what a small library can be about – highly useful, flexible, multi-faceted, and building community and social capacity. You can find out more here

http://www.thebestfriend.org

Now, becoming much more engaged with Burmese issues, having faith in libraries as agents of change, and with more long service leave to be used before my retirement, I decided to see for myself the state of libraries in Myanmar. So, it's back to Chiang Mai, and
Wat Lok Molee GaneshaWat Lok Molee GaneshaWat Lok Molee Ganesha

Wat Lok Molee Ganesha
Mae Sot, for a briefing ( and a couple of library tasks ) and then to Burma for a few weeks.


One of the pleasures of my time in Chiang Mai has been the daily walk from my accommodation to the library. There is always something new to be seen, and there are several Wats along the way, to drop into and have a sit or wander.

My favourite is Wat Lok Molee. The style of decoration involves lots of contrast, there's an ancient stupa, and there are some wonderful statues and illustrations. It's a place where occasionally I gain small insights.

Chiang Mai, of course, has a Wat to suit almost everyone's taste... it's just a matter of exploring them all to find the one that charms the most - and that could take you months if you were really serious



My subsequent bus trips to Mae Sot and on to Bangkok were unremarkable, but it was great to meet one of the founding monks, and the people at Borderline Collective gallery; plus Garrett introduced me to a great Burmese restaurant, Wadee. The food was excellent!!

Stay tuned to find out if food
Wat Lok Molee- Avalokiteshwara ( I think... )Wat Lok Molee- Avalokiteshwara ( I think... )Wat Lok Molee- Avalokiteshwara ( I think... )

Wat Lok Molee- Avalokiteshwara ( I think... )
on the other side lives up to this quality

















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Lunch at Wadee Burmese restaurantLunch at Wadee Burmese restaurant
Lunch at Wadee Burmese restaurant

Lunch at Wadee Burmese restaurant, in Mae Sot


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