I always did say that I was 50 years ahead of my time... Well, yesterday I learned that the Thai calendar is quite different to the Western one, and it is in fact the year 2553! Lol.
So how is life in Chiang Mai? Well, for one, hello to lighter misogyny than in the country I just left... I've only seen one woman with a headscarf. Female beauty is not something which is seen as threatening to male chastity. And what beauty... the Thai people are some of the most gorgeous people on earth. I love getting into the Mutual Appreciation Society with Thais who take a liking to my looks - we admire the way each others' features work. Superficial, but flattering and overall positive.
The streets are laced with farang (foreigners), sprinkled with square spaces filled with colour, but often livened up by curvy design. The Jewish guy from LA I met today says that living with art is the Thai way.
Yesterday I met Milos. Milos was originally born in the Czech republic, studied in Vienna, the USA and moved to Thailand twice. He runs meditations courses each night with the tourists he can attract as he walks 8kms each day around the city. I either saw the spirits of two past lives last night, or... not. ;o) Either way, Milos was kind enough to offer me invaluable advice about where to go to meditate. There is a forest monastery that not many farang know about which allows you to stay as long as you like (they recommend a minimum of a week) for the price of your choice (pay by donation and/or helping out with chores), and I never would have known about it if I hadn't met him.
When asked how he was able to learn 7 languages, Milos says he was in the right place at the right time. He speaks English, German, Czech, Slovakian, Spanish, Portuguese and Thai. And some Dutch. I aspire to be (more) multilingual myself.
I have been travelling so much this year that it no longer feels unusual. I am less photo-camera-ready, les easily impressed (this is after all my 6th time in Thailand), but still heartened to be here, and very gruntled.