Recently in Chiang Mai Category

Walking through Chiang Mai

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I am spending an unusually relaxing Saturday morning catching up on my web surfing. Don't let the title of this post fool you though, I am at home in Bangkok with the aircon on full blast. But I just spent the last 30 minutes walking through the streets of Chiang Mai.

chiangmai.jpgThis is possible due to a site that I found (thanks to a link from Wired's Compiler) called MapJack. It's a new competitor to Google Maps with some amazing and easily navigable "street-level" photos that make you feel like you are actually walking through town.

Although the site is impressive, MapJack only has maps available in two cities. Luckily for me, they made two excellent choices: San Francisco and Chiang Mai (!) Click on the image to the right to see how the website shows "Jack's View" of one of my favorite small temples just down the street from the Thaphae Gate.

So, wherever in the world you are today, you too can take some time to walk the streets of two of the most beautiful and walkable cities in the world at MapJack.

Thai TESOL Conference

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A couple of weeks ago, an American lady who I had met two years ago accidentally found my site and invited me to meet up with her. She had been teaching in the south of Thailand, but was now working in Bangkok. We were unable to make a connection, until she told me that she would be in Chiang Mai this weekend attending the Thai TESOL conference.

I figured that a TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language) in Chiang Mai would fit in with my tour of Non-Formal Educaton in Lampang, so I attended the last day of the conference today. The presentations I heard were actually quite interesting. I won't get into the details (which I think are probably boring to most) but the key is that today I realized that over the past week I have been getting many more ideas about what direction to take on a future PhD.

The reason I have this renewed interest in topics of technology and education in Thailand was because it was so refreshing to see Thai people who are hungry for knowledge. The villagers at Baan Saam Kha were so happy to see us, and so interested to talk to us, and were asking us so many questions. They wanted to learn, but more importantly, they asked us to help them learn how to learn. The head of the school continuously asked us, "What do you think?" or "Do you have suggestions for us?"

Not only are the villagers learning a lot themselves, but they are also teaching others how to improve their lives through education as well. The group from Nakorn Sawan that I mentioned yesterday drove for hours to hear about the experiences of the villagers at Baan Saam Kha. The villagers had learned important lessons, and in turn they wanted to share their knowledge.

And even at the TESOL conference I could see this same desire to "learn how to learn". The rooms were full of Thai teachers who wanted to find out the best ways to teach a language that is not their own. They know how important it is for the people of Thailand to be able to speak the global language of English, and they know how difficult it is to learn. But they are working hard to improve themselves, so that they can improve their country.

So now I am excited about education in Thailand again. The needs of a village like Baan Saam Kha are still numerous. And I would certainly never say that I have solutions to all their problems. But I think it would be very exciting and rewarding to work side-by-side with them on some of these issues.

Playing Tour Guide for Friends

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I haven't had much time to update this site lately, because I have been busy entertaining friends who are visiting from the U.S. They arrived in Thailand few days ago. After seeing the Bangkok sights, we are now in Chiang Mai taking advantage of what Northern Thailand has to offer.

More stories and pictures coming soon, I'm sure.

Last Pics

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Ok... after working on this little project for most of the day, all of my pics from my last 2 week road trip have been posted. So now in addition to the ones from Chiang Rai, I have also posted a bunch of photos from Chiang Mai. Check em out!

Food Poisioning Again

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The last time I came to Chaing Mai (last November) I really loved it. It was my favorite place in all of Thailand. The only problem was that I got food poisoning and spent 2 days in bed.

This time I still loved Chiang Mai, and this time I still got sick. I went to the hospital early Wednesday morning and was given medicine for food poisoning. I have no idea where I got the bug -- everything I ate tasted sooooo good (as usual). But I definitely got something. Whatever it was has kept me in bed for the past 2 days. Ugh.

I seem to be getting better now. At least I don't have a fever any more. But my stomach is still a little unhappy. In any case, I am tired of laying in my hard bed in my guesthouse, so I am flying back to Bangkok this afternoon.

On the bright side of things, I learned some new Thai words like buat hua (headache) buat tong (stomach ache) and kai (fever). :)

The Top of Siam: Doi Inthanon

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On the bus ride to Chiang Mai, Champ offered to let me stay with him at his friend's apartment. The following day, he said, we could go visit another friend of his at Doi Inthanon State Park, and stay there one night.

It turned out to be a great idea. The last time I visited Chiang Mai, I explored most of the old part of the once-walled city. This time, however, Champ took me to two old temples just outside of the old section of town that I had not seen. They were both beautiful. One of them has caves underneath the huge chedi, and one has a New Orleans cemetery look with the remains of the Kings of Chiang Mai.

We stayed overnight with Champ's friend near Chiang Mai University, and the next morning headed to Doi Intanon, home of Thailand's tallest mountain. Another one of his friends works in the Forestry Department there. The friend met our bus and showed us around a bit. This morning, we woke up early and headed to the top of the mountain. I never thought that I would ever be cold outside in Thailand, but I was this morning! The top of the mountain is cold, windy, and foggy. If I would have closed my eyes, I would have thought I was climbing Twin Peaks in San Francisco. But then I would have opened them and seen a lush green alpine jungle, and I would have realized that I was on the other side of the world.

On the way down, we stopped at a few waterfalls. After all of that hiking, Champ and I headed back to Chiang Mai. I showered at his friend's place, and took leave of him, thanking him for his excellent hospitality. Now I am heading to dinner with my friend Tu, who gave me a tour of Lampang last year.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Chiang Mai category.

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