Living That Chiang Mai Life!

“Living that Chiang Mai life!” is a favorite expression of our dear friend, Ken. Kathy and I are truly doing that and it’s a great life!

Folks ask us all the time, where do all these Black folks in Chiang Mai come from?

The answer is the answer that is true for Black folks everywhere…from all across the diaspora.

Many of us are from the U.S. as evidenced by this election watch party, but even then there was a Canadian in the bunch.

We are from South Africa as well as other countries in the Motherland. Some of us are from Europe.

No matter where we come from, we find a lot of joy and community in Chiang Mai.

We participate in community theater; we work as teachers, digital nomads or entrepreneurs. We volunteer and we are students.

We are tourists and residents. Some come for medical care or spiritual growth. Like Kathy and I, many are retired. Some of us stay briefly and some are here for life.

I really wish everyone reading this post could come and experience the beauty of living that Chiang Mai life! Kathy and I are happy to help.

The Amen Corner

I have discovered a new passion! Acting! I have no desire to be a star, in movies or on Broadway or even have a new career. However I love participating in community theater. It’s been a fabulous experience. We have a great cast and I’ve learned and grown a lot. I’m looking forward to acting in something else, stay posted!

We have 3 more performances of “The Amen Corner”. So I’m going to rest now. You can read more about it here: https://www.chiangmaicitylife.com/social-pics/dress-reheasal-amen-corner/.

Yi Peng!

Yi Peng is a beautiful festival celebrated throughout Thailand, especially here in Chiang Mai. It’s a beautiful time for community and visitors. Folks gather all over the city, usually close to the river. Lanterns are released into the sky. Loy Krathong (small handmade boats, decorated with flowers) are sent down the river. It’s a beautiful way to set your intentions for the coming year, send blessings up for loved ones and to let go of anything you no longer need. Enjoy our pictures from this year’s Yi Peng.

Chiang Mai Temple Tour

I had lots of fun this week playing tour guide to some visitors to Chiang Mai. They wanted to see some temples and since I love temples I volunteered. We spent the day visiting three of the over 300 temples here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Wat Doi Suthep is probably the most famous and most visited temple in Chiang Mai. It’s at the top of Doi Suthep (doi means mountain). From it you have beautiful views of Chiang Mai City. It’s beautiful but a little on the touristy side.

So, after the hustle and bustle of Doi Suthep, I wanted to show my guests the more rural and tranquil Wat Umong. I love the grounds here. You can climb to the top of the temple, explore the meditation caves, stroll along a small lake and feed the catfish.

Our last stop was in the centerof old Chiang Mai city. They got to see the moat that encloses the old city and then glorious Wat Chedi Luang. It was a fun last stop because when we came out Sunday Walking Market was in full swing!

We’ve been busy and life is good! I want to be better about blogging every week. I’ve decided shorter but more consistently posted blogs are the way to go. Hope you enjoyed this one. I’d love to hear from you…questions, suggestions for topics or anything about living a life of travel. Thank you dear reader!

A Quick Update from BOLT

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One of our faithful followers reminded me that I haven’t posted a blog lately. Kathy and I have been very busy but I wanted to take a few minutes out for a brief update.

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One project that is keeping us joyously busy is helping our dear friend, Wanvisa, in the development of her wellness center, Inthakin Green Village.  We’ve had lots of fun brainstorming ideas, getting treatments (the best part) and doing some administrative tasks. Kathy has been working hard, designing a website and it should be published soon.  We do have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Inthakin-Green-Village-254781621989943/

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The other thing keeping us (me) busy is that I am doing my first community theater gig. It will be a readers theater production of James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner”.  I am working with a fabulous group of people and we are under the direction of the very skilled Stephan Turner, who is the founder of the Gate Theater, here in Chiang Mai. If you are in or near Chiang Mai please come out and support us: https://www.facebook.com/TheGateTheater/photos/a.466250796762976/1791627774225265/?type=3&theater

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So that’s us for now, how about you? We love hearing from you: where you are, what you are doing and how can we help?  More about our Black Old Lesbian Traveling adventures soon!

Inthakin Village: Healing Happens Here!

Kathy and I were honored to be the guests of our friend, Wanvisa Inthep as she develops a program of Traditional Thai-Lanna Herbal treatments.  For the last week we have been pampered, healed, restored and rejuvenated! It has been an amazing experience!

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Inthakin Village is located in the jungle-forest of Mae Teang, just an hours drive from Chiang Mai. All of the buildings are in the Lanna style and made of reclaimed wood. Electrical power is solar and there is excellent wi-fi. It is the perfect setting for they type of healing treatments they offer.

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Treatments are individualized for each person, after a thorough assessment and according to your individual preferences and needs. Another thing that makes Inthakin Village so special is that all of the herbs are grown, picked and prepared on the land. They are organic and pesticide free.

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20180619_111306844745879.jpgOne of the many treatments offered is the banana leaves wrap. As you lie in the sun the leaves remove many of the toxins from your body. Best of all, you can begin and end the wrap with a dip in the Himalayan salt water pool.

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The expertly trained staff provide massages and herbal treatments.

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There is a lovely clinic area where the head doctor, certified in traditional Thai medicine, provides individual diagnostic assessments and a range of detoxifying and restorative treatments. There is also a steam and a dry sauna in this tranquil area.

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The food at Inthakin Village is some of the best I have ever had and that is saying a lot for Thailand! The chef is well versed in vegan, vegetarian, Thai and western cuisine. A special treat was the many herb (grown and prepared at Inthakin) teas we were offered throughout the day.

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I will do my best to explain the treatment above, unique to Inthakin Village. A specially prepared assortment of leaves, roots and herbs are laid on a bamboo table. Charcoal braisers are placed underneath. When the table and the leaves are quite warm, up you go! Turning on all sides of your body you are “grilled”. It was explained to me that this ancient therapy was designed to restore the many people who fell from elephants, the ancient Thai mode of transportation. It was perfect for me as I had recently fallen, hard, onto concrete steps in Chiang Mai. I arrived at Inthakin limping and bruised. I am leaving walking well with all my bruises gone!

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The grounds at Inthakin Village are beautiful. There are many areas for walking, hiking and quiet contemplation. Our experience at Inthakin has been amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a day, weekend, week long or longer healing get away. A website is being developed as I write this and I will share it with you as soon as available. In the meantime I am happy to connect anyone interested with Wanvisa. She will be happy to assist you in arranging a stay.  Please contact me through this blog or at boltraveling@gmail.com

This is What Community Looks Like!

My dear friend the phenomenal Lacey Clark asked the question that inspired this post. She asked what does community mean to me. While I can’t give a precise definition I can share what community looks and feels like for me.

Community is embarking on a 5 hour pilgrimage up Doi Suthep Mountain for Visakha (Buddha Day) with the beautiful group above. Community is getting a Facebook shout out even though Kathy and I quit after 2 and a 1/2 hours.

Community is Sunday Dinner and seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

Community is cherishing friendships and having great memories no matter how far away the friends are.

Community is beloved family, near and far.

Community is hours spent at Cafe De JJ talking politics, philosophy, science and a bunch of other random stuff, not to mention enjoying the love on a plate served up by the fabulous Beer (top, right above)!

Community is making friends everywhere we go and doing our best to stay in touch. Hey Keiko (our friend met in Mexico, from Japan and currently in Canada)!

Community is exploring nature with friends. Community is something that must be built, nurtured and cherished. I’m sure community is something that looks different to each of us. One thing I know for sure is that true community feels so wonderful and is something I need. I am grateful to have found it here in Chiang Mai!