Chiang Mai (2)

Saturday morning was spent at Seven Fountains Jesuit Spirituality Center for a silent retreat.  One of the Fathers introduced us to the practice of meditation and explained the various areas around the center.  We then spent 2 ½ hours in silence and our own thoughts.  There was a labyrinth, several chapels, open gardens with birds chirping, water.  It was a welcomed time by all of us.  We ended our time there with a silent lunch.

We were then thrust out into the “real/loud” world!  We went to Wat Umong built in 1297.  It is famous for its tunnels and large stupa.  The tunnels have many Buddhist images in carved nooks of the walls.  There also are larger statues.  The “naga” represents rebirth, death, and mortality. There is an area of broken statues. There are “talking trees” which have words of wisdom in Thai and English.  These proverbs hang from trees on footpaths leading to the small lake where we fed the fish and saw many pigeons and turtles.

We were joined in our afternoon activities by Min, the administrative assistant for the MCC office, and the Area Directors for Southeastern Asia.  We went to a craft market for a cold Thai milk tea and for shopping.

In the evening we went to the Night Market, stopping on the way to see a championship game of Sepak Takraw, or kick volleyball. a sport native to southeast asia. A rattan ball is used and players are only allowed to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball. It also happened to be the night for a gay pride parade in Chiang Mai.

Sunday we had a short worship and sharing time in the morning followed by a relaxing afternoon.  We all went out for one last meal of khao soi gai – and it was the best!  Also cold Thai milk tea was refreshing. We began our travels back to Chuncheon, leaving Chiang Mai at 11 p.m. and arriving at our apartment 1 p.m. the next day! Because of coronavirus and because our travels included being in close proximity with many people (planes and buses), the MCC team has chosen to work from home for two weeks.

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