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Published: March 20th 2018
Woolly says – After a restless night where my mind was more focussed on our next part of the journey rather than our current location, it seemed so easy to let Jo plan the day, hoping she had learnt from her previous disasters we set off to the outskirts of Chiang Mai. Wiang Kum Kam is an ancient city around 3 km south of Chiang Mai's city centre. Built by King Mangrai around the latter part of the 13th century it had served as the capital until repeated flooding meant a move to safer ground in the fifteen hundreds. For many years it was thought that the old city had been lost, until 1984 when the Department of Fine Arts discovered remnants of it and excavation was begun. Our uber dropped us off at a fine looking temple complex, a lovely wooden built shrine that apparently contained the spirit of King Mengra The Great held a host of elephants and rooster statues which were all mammoth sized, next to this was a rather worn looking stupa. My attention was grabbed by a wonderful white and golden temple with windows that were divine in the details, the doorway was a work of
art but inside was still a work in progress going by the ladders, cans of paint and the bare white walls. Buddha sat watching from the rear of the building obviously waiting to see how the artists progressed. Next to this stood a small but beautiful temple with the most incredible carvings and a lovely wooden top, we peeked inside to find a small Buddha happily surrounded by more roosters.
The small enclave was wonderful and quite a find, but I had started to wonder where the ruins of the old city were and given the lack of people anywhere how we were going to get back to Chiang Mai! Woolly says – Two lots of ruins which had obviously once been temples given their shapes in the remaining brickwork looked interesting but lacked any information, and at that point we seemed to have run out of things to view. Zoe and I looked at Jo and Jo looked at the ground, before muttering ‘it looked better on the pictures on google’. I looked around and realised that we were in the middle of nowhere with no transport and no ancient city,
I knew I shouldn’t have let her plan anything! We sat in the shade for a while in silence all contemplating the situation, I suggested sending Jo to find help, Jo suggested walking to somewhere with wifi and Zoe pressed every screen on her phone in the hope that wifi would magically appear, it didn’t, which left the walk option. I refused and having argued for several moments Jo came around to my point of view and picked me up and off we went.
We had seen a resort advertised on our drive in so keeping everything crossed we set off in the direction we had come. Woolly says – Luckily for some, the small resort provided us with an internet connection and password, within minutes an uber had collected us and we were on our way back to the busy streets. Having admired the moat that surrounds Chiang Mai and found a place to sit and have a cold drink I wondered what we could do next, all of the days trips that go into the mountain areas had long gone, the cookery classes needed booking and I wasn’t sure I
could face another Wat. Jo’s suggestion of visiting the Art in Paradise might be worth a try, but could we trust her? would it exist? Would it be open? Zoe googled it (what did we do before the days of technology!?) and agreed that it looked pretty good, third uber of the day on its way.
Hopefully it would stop his moaning if nothing else! Woolly says – The entrance looked wonderful and having had my picture taken standing on the L of Love that dominated the doorway I trotted inside, it was cooling, open and it appeared that there was something to see. The walls were lined with pictures in wooden frames, until you got closer and realised that the frames were just a paint affect, the whole place was a 3 dimensional gallery. With dolphins flying out of the pictures and a shark ready to eat us up we quickly got into the selfie realms and took picture after picture. By the time we had floated on the seabed and I had narrowly escaped being eaten by a crocodile it was a pleasant relief to see a giraffe drinking from
the floor of the gallery and a panda snoozing on a bamboo trunk, it all looked so real it was tricky to know where the paintings ended. I managed to escape from King Kongs clutches before finding a handy surf board to master the waves, everywhere I looked was another adventure.
It was so much fun and having admired some new takes on the masterpieces of the art world we found ourselves in pictures of many places we have been to, the trevi fountain was certainly less crowded and the gondolas were free! Woolly says – I didn’t feel particularly comfortable when an oversized kitten started chasing me and hurried into the Egyptian section where King Tut seemed to be alive. Each frame was interactive and once seen on a camera came to life, Jo wandered past Van Gogh’s starry night as I raced across a narrow branch to escape from a T rex before taking my snowboard and running for the hills. You couldn’t get better and it was something so different to all of the culture and history that we spend a lot of our time soaking up, well done
Jo….. well she deserves some praise sometimes!
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