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Published: January 22nd 2010
My first blog of the New Year 2010. It was sweet going home and spending two and half weeks with family and friends. Now it's time to get serious about my Peace Corps work and really making a difference...I'm on the other side of the slope, only a year to go. It seems several people are thinking the same thing and are making plans to come visit me. I'm definitely looking forward to being the tour guide...come on over!
I returned to my site to find that my elderly neighbor was on her death bed. I know most people don't like to talk about death but here it is viewed in a different light. Family and friends gathered around when she no longer took food or drink and kept a constant vigil. Within days she quietly passed without the benefit of any medical practitioners. The family cleansed the body and dressed it. No coroner, or other officials arrived, just the local monks were called in. A coffin arrived in the morning and placed inside the house and then the body placed within. It will remain in the house for 5 days and then the cremation will take place. Every night
the monks, family and friends return to pay their respects. All during the day, food is prepared and people come and go and eat at will. For five days there will be a lot of bad music and cheap liquor that play and flow into the night. I'll eat well but won't sleep the next few nights! I'm trying to understand the Buddhist theory of death...yes, people are saddened by their loss, yet they seem to easily come to terms with it. So many things are tied together in this cultural, I'll certainly never understand it all.
Winter has come to Thailand, if you can call it that. Most days are in the 80's and the nights are a pleasant 70 something. Temps don't seem to vary much this time of the year although some nights do dip into the 60's...yeah, that's when I use the comforter! The rice has been harvested and the fields are either barren or beginning to be plowed again. People seem to have more leisure time for fishing or working around the house.
I went to Chaing Mai last month. Travel is a challenge in itself but when you add 45 Thai's on
Assorted pots and pans
used for funeral meals. 30-50 people served every night for 5 nights.
an overnight bus then an overnight boat with constant karaoke, you get an adventure! Chaing Mai is the second largest city in Thailand and is located in the Northwestern part of the country. It is not quite the cosmopolitan city Bangkok is and lacks the BTS and the MRT (don't you just love the acronyms)mass transit, but still fairly large. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains that hide many flowing waterfalls.
Plan to return and do more exploring with a much smaller group.
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Debbie (Ridgley) Selzer
Love the color in your photos and descriptions! What a peaceful way for your neighbor to pass away and what a wonderful way to celebrate her life. I would love to be one of those people fitting in a visit with you - as my buddy Joyce is. I guess I'll just have to be content with our random meeting in North Bend! I have no doubt you are making a difference to those you touch there. Love, Deb
Hi Lynda! It was good to see you at Jazzercise................I'm wondering if the paper umbrellas are used for rain protection, and if so, how do they waterproof them? Or do they use a different kind for the rain and the paper ones for sun??? Vicki B.
Hi Lynda, Just heard the news that you're getting married in Thailand! How exciting! I guess having a companion and one who doesn't take no for an answer has finally paid off. I'm excited for you. I've loved reading your travel logs. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. Joyce is so excited about coming to see you! She's had a tough year and deserves some time to herself. She might even want to become more like her Mom, which wouldn't be bad at all. Hope you guys have a wonderful time. I think we are heading to Italy in March if everything works out. The girls are doing good. No major problems in that area. Rich and I are adjusting to retirement. We would travel more but we still have 2 more years with the girls. Have a great final year! Evelyn
Great pictures Lynda, enjoyed them so much. So happy to hear you safely returned and back to traveling again. The weather sounds inviting and everything is so colorful and the people look happy. We are doing well, keeping busy and trying to get the house next door ready for new renter. Having most work done, inside painted, hardwood laminate and carpeting done. Dry here a few days, been working outside, so refreshing! Take care. Look forward to your next "caper". Blessings.
The other Side>>>
So are you counting down the days. Lets keep the blog on the lighter side please. Good Pic's. Keep em coming Love ya
Vicki, These umbrellas are all made from paper but treated with some glue like substance to make them waterproof. Most of the umbrellas I've seen in use are like the ones we buy at home. These seem to be used for decorations.