Today I rented a motorbike again and took off into the countryside again. Laura had to do some work this morning, so I went of by myself and made my way up into the mountains to Wat Doi Suthep, one of the largest temples around. It is on the side of a mountain, and overlooks Chiang Mai. Walking up to it means burning your legs out on 306 steps that are bordered by handrails made from the backs of two dragons – which extend the whole way to the bottom of the stair case.
The mountains here really remind me of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge area. They even smell the same. I really enjoyed simply cruising on the curvy, banked roads for a few hours after feeling locked up and claustrophobic in Bangkok for so long. I came back down the mountain to pick up Laura and we went exploring in the other direction, but it was all city, so I turned around and we went back up the mountain to the Wat. The bike was really weak, so with two people on it I had to kick it into 2nd gear (and one time 1st gear) to get it to go up some of the hills. Kind of scary.
We came back and met up with Rich Jackson, former college roommate of my uncle Michael’s, now doing missionary work in Asia with his wife, Teresa, and his three children. Rich and Teresa took us to a place called “The Duke’s” which was an American restaurant. I got a juicy hamburger and Laura got a pizza. The hamburger was incredible after 2 months of street food and Thai cooking. The company was great as well. I keep forgetting that Christmas is soon, but Teresa gave me a tin of sweets wrapped with a ribbon and a stocking card, so I got one present for Christmas! We sat and talked about their work, life in Thailand, and – interestingly comforting – my extended family. Since all of you (meaning extended family) will be getting together pretty soon if you haven’t already for the Christmas Party, it was good to reminisce.
Tomorrow we are going trekking for three days, so there will be a little break in the blog. Should have some great stories when we get back. We are supposed to whitewater raft, ride elephants, and float down a river on bamboo flats…