Over Thursday night I learned of a couple of distressing things.
-A good school friend, Gary Farr has been diagnosed with a blood disorder and is undergoing chemotherapy for treatment.
-The Dalai Lama had been hospitalised with gallstones.
The best thing to do was to locate the highest point of worship and make offerings to Buddha. Doi Suthep sits northwest of Chiang Mai. The road is very good it even has barriers which were a novelty after some of the roads we have encountered traveling. It took us about 20 minutes to reach the top with quick stop off at a waterfall.
Looking back at Chiang Mai from about half way
Upon reaching Don Suthep there is a mountain of stairs to climb.
Steeper than they look
After this physical pilgrimage it is nice to remove your footwear and take in the sights and sounds of a very special place. The views are stunning as are the various shrines and artifacts.
View of Chiang Mai from the very top
The absolute highlight was entering a temple and getting on you knees to receive a blessing from a monk. My knees are sadly not cut out for extended periods of worship but a nice touch is getting a cotton wrist band and a splashing of holy water accompanied with chanting. The wrist band is to be left on for two weeks and the wearer will receive good luck for the duration and after. It was during this time I thought of Gary and The Dalai Lama.
We left Don Suthep with our spirits buoyed. It had just began to spit rain as we descended. We commented on this jokingly as we were lucky it had not rained earlier. The rain increased in volume until it was bucketing down with such ferocity that we had to pause and reflect on the impressive luck Buddha was raining down upon us.
I have since learned that the Dalia Lama is out of hospital. I am not sure how Gary is but hopefully he can read this at some point.
And that my dear readership is advanced string theory.