I’ve been lazy (to say the least) and busy so I haven’t wrote anything in a while. Wanted to throw up some pictures for everyone back home of Doi Suthep, the most famous temple in all of Chiang Mai. Locals say if you haven’t visited Doi Suthep you haven’t visited Chiang Mai.
A few weeks back Matt’s friend Evan decided to swing by after spending a week in Hong Kong on business. So, up Doi Suthep we went. Doi Suthep is the ‘giant’ mountain that overlooks Chiang Mai. In comparison for people in Seattle it would be ~ Mt. Si. Although technically Chiang Mai is in the foothills of the Himalayas. The temple was beautiful. You hike up something like 300 steps to get to it.
After that we went to a Hmong village farther up the mountain. The Hmong people are a ‘hill tribe’ of SE Asia. There are many different ethnic groups in this area (in comparison think Native Americans) who live in extreme poverty thanks to politics. Just like the Native Americans the hill tribes have been left with no where to go. Technically, they are not allowed to work in the country, so they are stuck with under the table jobs, farming, selling handmade things to tourists, etc. This Hmong village (due to being very close to the city) has actually thrived thanks to tourism. Most of the hill tribes live in much worse conditions than this. In the more remote villages opium use is rampant. In this village there was definitely signs of alcoholism, much like going on a reservation back home. This is unfortunate considering the U.S. (CIA) recruited the Hmong to fight their secret war in Laos for them. Afterwards the Hmong were abandoned by the CIA and forced to flee from Laos while being attacked by the communist party.