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!
As Dorothy, famously said, “We are not in Kansas any more.” Nor anywhere close! The wide variety of exotic fruits is one way I know this for sure. I had my first bite of durian yesterday. Durian is known as the king of Asian fruits. It is considered a delicacy and is quite expensive. It is also so stinky that you will see signs in hotels and on buses, across Asia, warning no durian. The fruit vendors, above, were kind enough to give me a taste. I have to say, that once I got past the smell (kind of like rotting fruit) it was quite delicious. It has a creamy sweetness like a cross of coconut and mango.
There is such a great variety of fruit here in Thailand. Things I had never tried or even heard of before. My favorite is the tart and juicy passion fruit. I have it almost every morning. There is lychee, rambutan, longan and salak. Right now the longan is still sour but later in the season it becomes very sweet. I have had lychee and rambutan in the states but only rarely saw it. Here is is everywhere. Salak, also known as snake fruit is weird. It is very prickly and hard to open, kinda smelly and with a taste that is hard to describe.
There are also most of the fruits I am familiar with in the states. We are only buying locally grown fruits so I skip the apples that come from New Zealand. But there are plenty of coconuts, oranges, mangoes, papayas, watermelon, pineapple and banana. I think the tropical climate makes everything extra sweet and juicy.
This week, at our local mall, there was a fruit festival. There was an all you can eat fruit buffet, entertainment and lots of samples to try. I thought this was a good week to write this post and share the pictures I took. Hope you enjoyed them!
Songkran (the Thai New Year Celebration) is celebrated over three days. This is an ancient Buddhist holiday marked by the bathing of Buddha statues, pouring out of water blessings on loved ones and strangers and other ancient religious rites. Songkran is celebrated all over Thailand and in many other countries in Southeast Asia.
This year we were honored to be invited by our friend, Wanvisa, to celebrate the first day of Songkran (yesterday) with her. We started the day with a visit to ancient Wat Chang Khum. It was lovely to start the day with quiet prayers, meditation and Buddha bathing. I took this photo of Wanvisa standing in front of this Spirit Tree. These other photos were the last I was able to take because…
Chiang Mai is home to the “world’s largest water fight” for Songkran and I put my camera away!
Video of Songkran Water Fun
Our friend, Monique, was able to take the above video of the craziness that ensued for the rest of our day.
We loaded into the truck with a large vat of icy water, lots of buckets and water guns. It was so much fun to experience with Sally, Wanvisa’s daughter. It is truly a wonderful holiday for children. We returned home exhausted, throughly soaked but delighted.
For the next 2 days there will be water and dousing everywhere. If I’m brave enough to venture out, I may put up more pictures. I hope you enjoy these. Sawadee Pee Mai Ka! (Happy New Year! )
I’m going to be down for about a week and not too happy about it! I’m very much a woman who likes to fill up her days with activities. Here in Ensenada, I’ve been going for 90 minute walks on rough roads and running and dancing on the sandy beach. I don’t know exactly how but I’ve injured my right knee. Ignoring the pain (for about 2 weeks) hasn’t helped and reducing my exercise time hasn’t helped. Finally I am paying attention to my wise wife…which always helps. Kathy reminded me that this knee thing has happened to me before (2 years ago) and the solution was RICE. No, not the often delicious grain that I love.
The combination of rest, ice, compression and elevation are what solved my problem two years ago and I trust it will do so again. So, rather than sink into self-pity or drama about it, I thought I’d do something helpful and share this solution. I also want to share gratitude that our BOLT life allows me the time to RICE and a beautiful and serene place to do it in. Looking forward to being up and about in a week…just in time for our excursion into town for Black Panther, hopefully able to do this then!
It is truly a wonderful life for a dog here in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico! In the U.S. Kahlo was almost always on a leash when outdoors and she spent a lot more time with us in the R.V.
Here at the Monalisa R.V. Park Kahlo has found a new way of life and we have too. There are a lot of dogs living here (at least 9, including Kahlo). As there is no traffic here, they all run free during the day. At first, I was very cautious about letting Kahlo join in the fun but now she runs with the pack for hours out of each day.
All of the dogs and their owners are very friendly. It is interesting to see dogs playing together in this way. Nikko, the alpha male, keeps everyone in line. Kahlo is very submissive towards him and he is very gentle but firm with her.
Another big difference from the states is that dogs run freely on the beach here. Kahlo absolutely loves this! She is a really fast runner and loves to chase and be chased by her buddies.
I love all the dogs here but I think Lucky is one of my favorites. He was a stray, in terrible shape, until Javier took him in. Javier is the groundskeeper here and a lovely man. Thanks to him Lucky is in great shape now!
We are really happy to have found this puppy paradise and I am pretty sure Kahlo is too!
This is our second visit in the RV to Ensenada and probably our fifth or sixth between cruises and car trips. We never spent more than a day, usually just a few hours. This time we’ve been here a few weeks and find ourselves loving it. What’s different? I think mostly it was our willingness to explore the city more deeply, to look beyond the smoggy, crowded big city feel or the cheesy touristy vibe near the cruise ship docks. Here are some of the reasons (razones) why.
Nuestro Barrio (Our Neighborhood)
We are staying well outside of the main city in the Chapultepec district. It has a very rural feeling with small tiendas (shops) and businesses that supply everything we need at very affordable prices.
!El Océano! (The ocean!)
What more can I say? This is what we see, less than 40 feet from our RV door. We are loving the sounds of waves crashing and seeing schools of dolphins swimming by.
Paradas Continuas (Continuous Stops)
These little mini busses are great! For 13 pesos (around 50 cents) they take you all around Ensenada and the surrounding areas. We’ve had lots of fun riding them up and down the hilly, small communities that surround the Big city. Soon we plan to take one into city central where we can visit the museums.
La Marcoplaza (Grand Plaza)
Just a short bus ride away is this really cool spot with all the conveniences of any modern mall. There always seems to be some sort of entertainment happening. There’s a Walmart, Home Depot and a really beautiful movie theater. We actually spent our first night in the parking lot here and were undisturbed. Now it’s a fun little day trip for us.
Persona Amable (Kind People)
Not just Ensenada but everywhere we have traveled we have been so blessed to meet kind and helpful people. It really does make a difference. We feel safe and welcomed here in Ensenada and look forward to exploring more of the area. If you have any experience here we’d love to hear your suggestions.
The Mona Lisa RV Park and Motel is far from the fanciest or most modern place in Ensenada but we find it absolutely perfect for BOLT!
We are right next to the Pacific Ocean, separated by a rocky breakwater. There is a stone stairway that leads down to a clean, shell strewn beach. When the tide is out you can walk along the ocean for miles.
Of course, the ocean is beautiful, but the uniqueness of the Mona Lisa is all the art work here. There are murals and sculptures all over, many of them depicting Mexican history and Toltec and Aztec sacred figures.
All the necessities of life (groceries, laundry, drinking water) are within walking distance. Plus there is a sweet little mini bus that comes practically to our door and takes you right into Ensenada Centro.
Things are a little run down but the staff is wonderful and very helpful. We have a great spot for our Winnie. It looks out onto the crashing waves and has a little table, outdoor kitchen and a palapa (thatched shade). There is really good wifi and our spot has electric, sewer and non-potable water hook ups. A spot like this in California would be at least $65 a day. Here at the Mona Lisa it is $20 a day and a month is a huge discount down to $330 a month.
We are really enjoying the mild weather, relaxing lifestyle and affordable prices. We will probably be here for a couple of months. Ensenada is a less than 6 hour car trip for our So Cal friends and there’s an airport for everyone else. We sure would love to see you!