Another High Season

As per usual the last month or so has been a whirlwind of activity here in northern Thailand. The annual Yi Ping event marked my two year anniversary with Katie, time must be speeding up because it feels like yesterday we met. Again we braved the hordes of tourists and went to Mae Jo for the big lantern release. This year we had a truck full of people , including Katie's cousin and spouse, as well as some of her friends from college. These sort of events are a bit draining since everyone you know in Chiang Mai ends up there, so lots of small talk, etc. etc. What makes the event so magical is the 5 minutes in which everyone lets off their lanterns at once, save the Chinese tourists that couldn't comprehend the whole process and started letting them off immediately.......oh China. It was another great event, but don't think we will be going up there again, maybe next year we will  just hang out at a high point around the event so we don't have to deal with the hordes of people.

Katie and the family

another token lantern shot

we threw Max in there for spice

I also started working with International Student Volunteers again this season. Another new project for me was the Mae Kok Foundation up near Chiang Rai. Hands down some of the best food I have ever had in Thailand, courtesy of Mom (Anuluck Chaisurin). The project was started as a place for displaced hill tribe children, notably from families with opium addicts. The hill tribe people in this region traditionally grew opium for sale throughout the world, as such many of them have become addicts and cannot care for their families properly. The kids were great and represented some 10 hill tribe or other minority groups. A few months back a large flood inundated the area and broke the existing flood walls, so our job was to create a new wall with sandbags filled with concrete and sand. In total we put in around 1800 bags. Besides the flood wall we also taught English at a local vocational college for a few days......major growth zone for not only the participants but also myself. 

oh sand bags

big buddha

honorary degree from Chiang Rai Vocational College

Now its time to get ready for the PEPY Ride IX!! Can't believe I get paid to do this stuff.