Travel theme: Liquid

A rainy day on Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

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In response to Where’s My Backpack? blog’s call for entries on the theme of liquid, here’s a picture I took a couple of weeks ago on Doi Suthep, the mountain 16km from Chiang Mai. It’s most famous as the location of the historic temple Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, but this picture was taken at the entrance to Phra Tamnak Phu, the royal family’s winter palace, about 4km from the wat. It’s free to visit the beautiful gardens that surround the palace. When we arrived, it was overcast, but as we neared the end of our walk, suddenly—in that familiar tropical style—there was torrential rain. After about 10 minutes, it stopped long enough for us to make a dash for this row of shops at the entrance, and shelter there for another 15 minutes while we watched as sheets of water hit the pavements.

In keeping with the theme of The Crayon Files, such a heavy but short-lived downpour is typical of life in the tropics and reminded me of the many I was caught in when I lived in Thailand in the 1990s. I’ve waded through floods in central Bangkok, been stuck in traffic jams for hours and hours, and been given a lift home on a motorbike down roads so flooded, I had to tuck my legs up by the seat. There was an old house opposite my apartment in Sukhumvit Soi 11 then, and it always flooded in the wet season, looking like a house boat floating on a lake. It was one of the last remaining traditional houses in the area and the land would have been worth a fortune. I guess it has gone now. Here’s what it looked like (unflooded) then (photos taken from my balcony):

Back to the present and Phra Tamnak Phu: here are some shots of the gardens, taken a few minutes before that rain started:

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