The world is small. Sitting in the streets of Chiang Rai Robert, a well-known guy from our hometown in Germany is passing by. It’s just fortune. He is travelling together with his girlfriend Anka and arrived in Chiang Rai the same day we did. We spend a nice evening together talking about our experiences while travelling and further plans.
After we left Wat Tam Wua Forest Monastery a little earlier than expected and our Thailand visa hasn’t expired yet we decided to stop over in Chiang Rai on the way to Laos. We find a basic but cheap accommodation and go on the typical sightseeing tour to the recommended places, like the white temple, build in the 90tees and still under construction, and the black house, kind of a big exhibition. Also the white temple seems to be more like art, than a religious place. The super hero sculptures hanging from the trees are just one example for what the place is like. Many tourists are around and it’s hard to get a photo with no people on it, but it’s kind of entertainment too watching the people posing in creative ways for selfies. On the way to the other main attraction of Chiang Rai, the black house, we pass a big shopping center. To get some food we stop there. You cannot imagine how happy we feel after getting real crispy fresh baguette and tasty, high quality cheese. Sitting on the ground in front of the shopping center and enjoying a small picnic leads to some amazement. The kind of art in the black house is interesting but also kind of weird for us, dead animals all over, crocodile, wolf, bear and snake skins, lots of bones and other things like that. While having some coconut ice-cream, really just made out of coconut and sugar, we think and talk about what we have seen and developing ideas what the intention of the artist might have been.
We end the day with some food from the night market and meeting Robert and Anka again. On the way back to our guesthouse we pass the big expensive hotel we already saw yesterday. Why should this place be interesting for us? Because in the entrance hall of this hotel there is a piano and as I noticed over the last weeks, I really miss to play. Yesterday I was shy, but today, after asking for permission, I go inside and enjoy playing for some minutes.
While travelling through Thailand Seven and I frequently thought about the possibility to get in touch with elephants. Of course, it’s not difficult, there are elephant camps all around, but we are not sure about how they treat the animals and we really don’t want to support any kind of maltreatment or other things like that, especially after seeing the elephants in Pai standing next to the street under roofs with chains around their legs. In Chiang Rai we hear about a place around 30km outside the city. It’s a farm maintained by a French women married to a Thai and living in Thailand since 20 years. The place is home for a lot of maltreated animals like dogs, donkeys and others more. Three years ago two elephants, Melanie and Gypsy, former working elephants, also got their new home hear. After a long telephone call with Sophie, the French woman, about the background of the farm and their work in detail, we decide to go there. We spend one whole day with these impressive animals outside in the nature and we feel deeply touched by this experience. Hopefully it was the right decision….cause at the end I am not really sure and some kind of uncomfortable feeling stays to me after that day worrying about these lovely animals.
The last day in Chiang Rai we prepare for going to Laos. Some research and organization needs to be done before leaving. So again bye, bye, Thailand….we loved your nice atmosphere.