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beautiful Chiang Mai

impressions and sensations

just a few impressions from a friend of mine in this beautiful City...i

Loves about Chiang Mai: The myriads of 2nd hand books shops, abundant vegetarian food, CHEAP vegetarian food, DELICIOUS vegetarian food, so many yoga studios, colourful early morning markets, the heat and humidity, cheap guesthouses some of which are just lovely, the gentle and beautiful Thai people, affordable most amazying thai-massages for only 4 Euro, cheap laundry, the proximity to Pai and Laos, meeting cool locals and other travellers, how some people take dogs on their motorbikes and publicly show affection to their animals, how the monks are obligated to look after any strays that wander into the wats, beautiful clothing and crafts at the day markets made by the various hill tribespeople and hidden in the back streets at wholesale prices, cheap and beautiful (hippie) clothes, the slow(er) pace of life and underlying vibe of the city. Being a tourist here is just so easy... I've decided it is NOT a good introductory prelude to travelling in India.

Awesome vegetarian eaties: Juicy4U, Gap's House (vego buffet for 90B every night), Blue Diamond (the restaurant, not the drug), Nice Kitchen, Mai Kaidees.
Places to stay: Sabai Garden (Vicky and the lovely staff, food and massages... ask for Porn - she knows what she's doing). Next time I come I want to try Spicy House.

Not so great stuff: Pollution + heat = smog, The tuk tuk and red truck drivers constantly beeping at you or hassling you into taking their tuk tuk, being a farang and having to pay more than the thais for some things (not so bad, they are locals after all and we are tourists being fuggen annoying tourists), food poisoning, being hassled at the night markets if you look at something for slightly too long or show any kind of interest in something for sale, sad clown dogs with mange or injured limbs or conjunctivitis, western eateries, watching other tourists being pains in the arse and feeling intensely annoyed at them, then even more annoyed at remembering you are one yourself.
2010-03-22 09:30 | tina
Hi the pic are very< nice
2009-10-30 16:03 | Casey OZ
Morning kids... In the last few days I've been continuing with the yoga course, and I'm starting to feel my chakras vibrating a little bit more! On the second day when I realised that the yoga sequences are largely repetitive and involve holding some poses WITHOUT THE CORRECT ALIGNMENT (Oh my God, Iyengar would totally freak, and so did I at first) for long periods of time (read: pain).... I was having second thoughts about the doing the whole course. I'm an Iyengar teacher for Christ's sake, alignment in the postures is SO important! And you HAVE to do at least 25 poses in a class, otherwise you just don't feel the full effects, right?? WRONG. In Savasana after these classes, which are 2 hours long, twice a day (savasana is the final relaxation pose in a yoga class where you just lie down on your back... sorry to those non-yogi people who don't know wtf I'm on about) I am completely fried and seem to enter a Turiya, or deep sleep state just by holding 8 postures for loooong periods of time. A totally different form of yoga to what I'm used to, but I feel like I need it. I am learning so much that I can pass on to students in my own classes, as well as refreshing the basic concepts I learnt in my teacher training course.

Since the teachers come from a tantric/hatha/kundalini school, I'm learning more about tantra. The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of "Tantra" are mass orgies, weird sexual techniques, and mysterious rituals. In reality the sexual aspect only makes up about 10% of this very ancient philosophy, and there's so much more to it. But since that's what westerners are most familiar with, that's the part I'll discuss here a little. On the "yogic" path there are a few different schools of thought regarding sexuality. Vedanta is the one I am most familiar with, for example the Hare Krishnas follow this philosophy. I hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot here, but from what I've picked up the vedanta philosophy approaches sexuality as an obstacle to spiritual enlightenment, i.e they promote celibacy, or sexual abstinence as the true path to Samadhi. I've always battled with this concept as I feel like I'm a pretty sensual creature. I enjoy expressing myself sexually and sensually; I feel like it's a part of me and to deny that part of my being would be failing to honour myself. For me, cutting sex out of my life would be neglecting a form of communication that I feel is a beautiful and special thing, and I dare say, a holy thing . For the most part I've observed that sexual abstinence is the true way to spiritual enlightenment (just think of monks, nuns, priests, etc) and so I kind of surmised that I probably won't be enlightened in this lifetime, unless I changed my values which I haven't yet been compelled to do.

The tantric path to enlightenment is quite different. They advocate sexual continence, a mere control and channelling of sexual energy, as a way to develop spiritually and reach enlightmenment. There's a lot more to it than that but for me this is a refreshing change to the Vedantic values I've been exposed to in my experiments with the whole yoga way of life. I'd started to play with Tantra before I left Australia but now I'm learning about it from teachers with a lot of experience in the area. I feel relieved and empowered that there actualy are different "paths to enlightenment" to suit different people (well, duh!!) Plus I think it would be a cool job to be a Tantric therapist and yoga teacher woooooo!!...

This weekend I've had off yoga so I've checked out the day and night markets . The night bazaar is CRAZY but so colourful... there's only so much of it I can take before having to leave the crowds and punters forcing you to suggest your best price if you look at one of their good for a second too long.

I've been taking my homeopathic "vaccinations" every day - thanks to Tarang the homeopathic pharmacist of Nimbin. I hate the whole idea of traditional vaccinations (with their immunity destroying potential, heavy metals, adjuvants and other shit in them... yes I'm a hippy deal with it :). The food poisoning homeopathic remedy I brought with me has worked MIRACLES... and has stopped diarrhoea in its tracks and made me feel better within a few hours. I've used it a few times now and am fully convinced of its effectiveness. Much better than Imodium. The prophylaxes I'm taking are for cholera, malaria, diptherium and hepatitis (A,B and C) so hopefully I won't contract cholera from the water. I've been only having bottled water so that should be sweet.

Yesterday I was at the day markets and taking heaps of photos, bought a few things for friends and some cheap singlets for myself. Then I met up with Chevee for lunch and we talked for HOURS, from 1pm until about 5pm at the same place. Chevee is a big-hearted girl from Jamaica who's been teaching English in Japan for the past 4 years and speaks fluent Japanese. Yep, she already sounds cool, right? She is indeed quite an amazing chick, and we clicked instantly. Since meeting her at the yoga course she's made me think about many things in ways I've neglected to acknowledge so far. Some things I've been battling with are more clear to me now, she has a lot of wisdom to share. She's helped me to see things from a different perspective. She's a really great girl with a very big heart, and I'm so happy to have met her.

Lunch flowed into dinner which we ended up having at the vego buffet (3rd night in a row for me! It's THAT good) and it was there that I realised my camera was GONE. I have no idea where I could have left it and it's possible someone just grabbed it out of my bag in the crowded markets. Initially I was really sad. My camera had 2 videos of Filip on it (one of him reading the Richest Man in Babylon, and the other of him singing in the car) and I've watched them quite a few times since leaving Australia when I've felt like I'm missing him. I was upset to have lost them and to lose the camera so early in my trip. But then I thought, "annicca!" a phrase repeated MANY times at the Vipassana meditation course I did earlier this year. Anicca means "impermanence"... and reminds me that nothing lasts forever, and that eventually everything dies, is destroyed or lost. We never truly own anything. Plus I made a little deal in my head that if I had to give up my camera for the wonderful day I'd just spent with Chevee, it would be absolutely worth it. So I'm feeling ok about it now. Although today I'll retrace my steps and ask the shops I stopped at if they've found it. If someone returns it to me I'll reward them with a decent sum of money. If it's gone then it's gone... maybe I can claim it back on my travel insurance?

I went for an hour long run this morning to Chiang Mai university, a bit out of town. I really felt like running when I woke up, I was dreaming about running. It felt so good to get out and run, much better than my first run here which felt heavy and cumbersome and FOT, at least for the first 10 mins.. it usually gets better after that, when the chakras open up :) I feel like fasting today, especailly after going to the (healthy but voluminous) vegetarian buffet the last 3 nights in a row. he yogis have been raving about fasting as a cleansing technique, and although I've meddleed with it in the past I love food so much that I find it very hard not to eat for a day, especially when I'm surrounded by such beautiful food! I usually eat 6 times a day, and my day revolves around where and what I'm going to eat next. I ran for an hour earlier so I'm not sure how I'll go... if I get light-headed I'll eat some fruit or something, especially since I'll be trolloping all across the city today in the humidity and heat looking for the camera. But I'll try to just stick to water. Let's see how enlightened I can get heh.

Ok I'm going to stick all of this stuff on my blog because putting it on Facebook is a bit lame.
From now on I'll just stick stuff on my profile and not add anyone and inadvertently piss people off who don't want to get annoying emails from Facebook saying "Hey! Casey thinks you give a shit about what she's doing."

Signing off now xoxoxo
2009-09-02 22:14 | Casey aus OZ