Friday, March 23, 2007

Chiang Rai, cabbages and Wat Rongkhun

Sunsetting as i reached Chiang Rai. Marvel at that.



















Checked into this old refurbished mansion with individual bungalow rooms. dirt cheap. shiny and clean. Owners are a nice couple with ten daschunds. All bark but no bite.















Next day visited the hilltribe museum. Learnt a bit about opium. The documentary was a bit boring. But this is a good introduction into the magnitude this stuff. Whole tribes and cultures (maybe even some civilisations) owe their existence to it. Its been around as long as the greeks.















Downstairs from the museum had coffee at this shop. Its the profit raising wing of a local program family planning unit. It seems that before they started this, average childbirth was 6. After 20 plus years of implementation. it is now 2. Do the math..that still leaves a gazilion mouths to feed. They want to make condoms as easy to get as cabbages..hence the name.















Visited Wat Rong Khun. South of C.Rai. Was recommended this place by a local. Nice. Done by an artist famous for his religious paintings.
















Inside they havent finished the murals. Pics not allowed, but still had a peek. Star wars, oil, space odyssey, osama and gang, intertwined with buddhist images. Go check it out. They had paintings of the pod racers. Seriously.















The main entry. Crowded with locals. Surprisingly farang free. Probably cos everything about this place is only published in thai. Lets leave things be.



















Hands from hell? asking for alms?














Pic of dragon image.




















Detail of dragon eye. They use white plaster with bits of mirror. Fantastic.















As I was stumbling around I noticed people were making a fuss and taking pics of and woth this chap. Turns out he's the artist who designed this place. So, like a zombie, I also snapped a pic of him. He was gracious enough to pose without giving me a suplex.



















Magnificent.














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