Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 58 - Muy Thai Boxing in Chiang Mai

Went to the bus station to catch a ride to Chiang Mai. There were two bus terminals in Chiang Rai, so I had to take a tuk-tuk to get to the correct one. I took the first class bus, which was a double decker with a bathroom. The seats were pretty spacious, although there was a problem with the A/C condensation dripping on the two people sitting in front of me. We took the whole bus trip trying to figure out how to keep the water from dripping onto them. It was sad...and I hope they asked for their money back!

The entire bus ride was abour 3 hours, which was not bad at all. Once there, I took a motorbike to the Night Market area to look for a hotel. Settled on a guesthouse with a fan (no A/C!) in a room that resembled a 12 year old's room. It was nice, since there was an actual theme...unlike some of the other hotels I'd been to.

Walked around after settling in, and went to the Wat Buppharam where I took some pictures of the temples and stupas. I was approached by a Buddhist Monk, who brought me into the Thunjai Buddha Temple and he asked me to pray with him and wish Buddha for things I wanted. He wrapped a rod of string that was wrapped around a golden lotus (?) around my neck and I held the two strings in my hand as I prayed, and he held the strings as well and chanted a Buddhist Meditation prayer for me. It was an interesting experience as I'd never done this before. He also took a bunch of incense and dipped it in water and splashed me numerous times with it. I'm not sure what this procedure is called. At the end of the chanting, he gave me a bracelet and said to wear it for a year as it would be used as protection. He was a very jolly monk and was very encouraging and optimistic about my life. He said it was my lucky day... I thanked him and made a donation, feeling a little more confident and hopefully safe on my journey.

Afterwards, I went to the Wat Saenfang before closing and saw monks meditating and chanting in the temple. I sat for a good 5-10 minutes trying to meditate as well, unknown if I was actually successful. It was difficult to clear my head as I just continued to talk to myself in my mind... it was like I was an only child talking to myself.

Went into the night searching for the night bazaar. There was everything you could imagine to purchase there. I bought some food and got a foot massage for about $2.50 before heading to my first Muy Thai boxing match! I got front ringside seats and it was really exciting to see the fighting. It's brutal as they can use their legs and knees to kick anywhere...without padding, and the only padding is on the hands (except for the last fight, which was bare hands fighting). There was a women's fight and an international fight with a guy from France (although it looked fixed). Also, there was a filler blind boxing match and topless ladyboy dancing as well... Many of the Thai Ladyboys have already had their operations, so there were real breasts on display... I wonder if it is affordable in this country, compared to the United States? I'd think it would be a very expensive and timely process to get a sex-change in the states...

I found Disney at Wat Buppharam

Wat Buppharam

Thunjai Buddha Temple

Wat Saenfang

Pre-Fight Dancing Ritual

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