We’ve finished our contract with NDI Nepal, leaving Kathmandu to make our way by air over the high mountains to Bangkok, Thailand. We’ve been here for about ten days. Tomorrow we hop a train to Malaysia where we’ll spend a few days visiting our friend Siew who lives in Penang.

We had hoped to post photos from the workshops we facilitated at the Future Leadership Academy conference with the NDI.  NDI staff snapped some great photos, but everyone at the office is on holiday and so we won’t have photos for a few weeks.  Rather than wait to post, we thought we would update you without these photos and post the others later.

So, getting up to speed… On July 7th we took off from Tribuvhan International Airport on a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok.  It was a smooth flight.  And we landed at Suvarnabhumi  International Airport in Bangkok around 6 pm.  This is our second visit to Thailand, we were here in 2007, so we’re familiar with the airport and taxi situation.  We got a cab and headed to our favorite Bangkok hotel – New Siam II on Pra Athit Road.

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We had arranged a car for the next morning to take us to the Thailand Vipassana Centre, Dhamma Kamala, the meditation centre closest to Bangkok (about three hours northeast of the city).  Because of our extended stay in Nepal and our contract with the NDI, we were not able to sit the meditation course we had signed up for.  But the centre very kindly let us sit our own 7-day self-directed course.   We were really grateful for the chance to sit, even if it was only for a week. We had sat a 10-day course here about five years ago. It’s really lovely. Well organized and developed. Our little course was great, but the centre is in the jungle and it was hot and wet. Surprisingly, despite the centre being in a swamp due to the heavy rains of the season, mosquitoes were not too bad. The rains have brought tens of thousands of frogs and other insect-devouring amphibians and lizards. They do a good job keeping the bugs at tolerable levels. But the frogs also make an incredible amount of noise at night. The trade off was worth it.

Now back in the city we toured around today to visit a few of the local temples and trip up and down the canal. Tomorrow an overnight train will take us on a 20-hour journey south to Malaysia, where we’ll visit Siew.

Here are some photos and commentary from the last few weeks.  If you click on each one you’ll be able to see them better.

DSC05935Buying some treats at Bhat Bateni supermarket. These Indian fellas thought we were a bit weird taking photos while we shopped.

DSC05937Our final morning in Nepal. Waiting for our taxi to the airport…

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Hello Bangkok Airport…. we are so glad to see you and your modern amenities.

DSC05965The walkway leading to the dinning hall at the meditation centre.

DSC05966Walkway leading to the meditation hall….

DSC05968Scotty in front of the meditation pagoda after our course.

DSC05975Karen’s residential quarters at the meditation centre were quite a bit different than Scott’s. Private en suite bathroom, spacious bedroom, cool, clean tile floors. Very classy.

DSC05976Here’s a shot of Karen’s beautiful new en suite bathroom.

DSC05956Scott’s residence, on the other hand, was a bit more basic than Karen’s. This shot was taken by squeezing into the corner on the bed under the window and shooting back toward the door. Notice there’s no ceiling. Or a bathroom. Men will have a nice residence in a few months, though.

DSC05979Walkway into the women’s residence. Looks a bit like a nice boutique hotel, no?

DSC05983Women’s residence.

DSC05961One of the nicest things about Dhamma Kamala is the ice cream the centre serves on the last day of every course. A very refreshing treat in such a hot place.

DSC05995The beautiful walking Buddha that stands in a little park beside the Thailand Vipassana Centre.

DSC05997The front entrance hall to the Thailand Vipassana Centre.

DSC06001Scott enjoying some delicious Thai treats in the comfort of our air-conditioned room at New Siam II.

DSC06092Yessssss…….. Fresh, juicy Dragon Fruit. Thank you Asia.

DSC06006Some of the stupas of Wat Pho (or Bodhi Temple). The home of the famous reclining gold Buddha, 45 metres long.

DSC06008These are neat. Ancient Thai public health. Lacking organized medical system, the 17th century Thai King ordered instructions in pain relieving Thai massage to be posted where he knew the people would see them… at the temple.

DSC06019A few of the collection of 300 gold-covered bronze Buddhas at Wat Pho in Bangkok.

DSC06022The Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree.

DSC06023Sixteen metres high, this is a standing gold Buddha at Wat Pho.

DSC06029The reclining Buddha at Wat Pho is very long. And difficult to photograph (ergh).

DSC06046The terrifying steep steps of Wat Arun (Dawn Temple) in Bangkok.

DSC06050Looking down the steps at Karen from the top of the stupa at Wat Arun.

DSC06068Our unexpected add-on canal boat ride. This canal ride was suddenly sprung on us in the middle of our tour of three temples in Bangkok. It cost a further 200 baht. Oh, well.

DSC06082We all enjoyed feeding the big cat fish from our canal boat… Well, Karen was a little less impressed.

DSC06084A very nice Buddha in a stand of trees on the steps up to Golden Mountain Temple.

DSC06086Monks on their way up to pray at the stupa and Buddha relics at Golden Mountain temple.

DSC06087Monks praying in front of the stupa at Golden Mountain temple in Bangkok.

 

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