Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. JNXPILOT

    JNXPILOT Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Central NC
    In 1972 my wife and I moved from North Carolina to Kansas. We loaded all our stuff in a '68 Ford Fairlane station wagon with a 5x8 Uhaul trailer. In 1984 we (wife, three kids, one dog, two cats) moved back to NC. We threw away a ton of stuff, but still filled a Mayflower semi. And we threw away a ton of stuff as we unpacked. Now we're looking at downsizing for retirement. If anyone needs five tons of stuff, let me know.
    rubline, Max Wedge and Balanda like this.
  2. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,014
    Location:
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    Sure ship it up to me and I'll split the shipping with you!!:imaposer:imaposer:imaposer
    JJ
  3. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/273.html

    [​IMG]

    Well, the year 2558 is coming to a close. No, we haven't time-traveled to the future, although the blog is so far behind, it might as well be a history book. As we've noticed in all the dates we see on the newspapers and flyers around town, the Thai calendar is measured in the Buddhist Era, which is 543 years ahead of the Christian Era of the Gregorian calendar.

    In the Buddha Era Calendar, the most important days are the full moon days. That's when all the Thais and tourists come out to celebrate. And of all the Full Moon celebrations, the most visually spectacular is the one celebrated on the 12th month of the lunar calendar, Loi Krathong - the festival of lights.

    [​IMG]
    Normally in the western world, this means werewolves. In Thailand, it means PAAAAARRRRTTTTEEEEEE!!!!

    Loi Krathong celebrations in Chiang Mai take place over several days. We heard the monks at the Wat Phan Tao, right in downtown Chiang Mai, were throwing a huge party the day before the full moon, so we dropped in.

    [​IMG]
    This is how the Buddhist monks celebrate. Wat were you expecting?
  4. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    It does get livelier though. Outside the temple, the monks were carrying small ceramic bowls of wax with a candle inside. They were placing them all over the temple and the grounds.

    [​IMG]
    You can donate some money to the temple and receive a Buddhist votive candle.
    Then you write your name on a tag that you stick on the underside along with a wish or prayer


    [​IMG]
    You can hand them to a monk for them to place your candle up on the walls of the temple

    [​IMG]
    Neda made a wish. Like a birthday wish, you're not supposed to share it with anyone else
  5. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    Loi Krathong is a special occasion, so at Wat Phan Tao they organize an outdoor ceremony where novice monks practice the light waving rite.

    [​IMG]
    Novice monks slowly walk out onto an island of candles

    [​IMG]
    As a Buddhist sermon is delivered, they close their eyes in deep meditation

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    With paper lanterns above them and a carpet of candles around them, it's a spectacular setting for a religious ceremony
  6. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    The next evening is the actual full moon ceremony, and tens of thousands of people will spill out into the streets of Chiang Mai to celebrate. Iva, the whirlwind traveler has arrived in town from her densely packed itinerary just in time to celebrate Loi Kathrong with us. We sat down with her during the day and she regaled us with stores of where she had been in the last 10 days: the temples of Angkor Watt in Cambodia, the ruins in Ayutthaya, the beaches of Phi Phi. "So what have you guys done since I last saw you?" she asked.

    "Um. We took the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai... Oh and we ate a lot of food. Like, A LOT of food! And... we're seeing Loi Kathrong tonight!"

    [​IMG]
    This is the main event, releasing the Krathong into the river

    A Krathong is an offering made of banana leaf and wood shaped into a lotus flower. They are typically decorated with a candle, an incense stick, perhaps a coin and a lock of hair. The idea is to place all of your bad fortune into the Krathong and release it into the river away from you.

    [​IMG]
    When a few people release krathongs, it seems like a deeply personal affair

    [​IMG]
    But it's not a Festival of Lights if only a few people do it...

    When thousands of people line the shores of the river and release thousands of these lit-up krathongs, it is quite a sight! That's a lot of bad luck floating down the river...
  7. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    [​IMG]
    No party is complete without a parade

    [​IMG]
    And floats. Each year there is float dedicated to the Queen Noppamas Beauty Contest

    The first person to ever create a Krathong was Noppamas, the daughter of a Brahmin priest in 1850AD, she presented it to the King of the Sukhothai kingdom and he released it into the river. Then he married her. Then came the floats.

    [​IMG]
    During the parade, we glance up at the sky...

    It was breathtaking. Thousands of orange lights, like fireflies rising up into the dark clouds of the night sky. It all seemed to be coming from Wat Phan Tao temple, so we quickly headed over there to see what was going on.
  8. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    [​IMG]
    At the temple, there was a crowd of people all releasing paper lantern balloons

    Although Loi Krathong is Thai holiday, Chiang Mai has put a special twist on this celebration. Because Loi Krathong also coincides with the Lanna (Northern people) festival called Yi Peng, this tradition also launches thousands of paper lantern balloons into the sky like embers rising from a flame. So along with the thousands of Krathongs floating down the river, you have the mirror image of the paper lanterns floating up in the sky. It truly is a Festival of Lights!

    [​IMG]
    How do you get yourself a paper lantern? Well one way is to donate some money to the temple... :)

    [​IMG]
    The lantern is called a Khom Loi, and like the votive candles, you write your wish or dreams on the side of the lantern balloon

    [​IMG]
    Here's a Hello Kitty Khom Loi. Not sure what the wish here is... Maybe a pink bowtie for Christmas?
  9. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    [​IMG]
    The Khom Loi are lifted up by a wax disc that's set on fire. It is also capable of setting your head and hair on fire if you're not careful. True story...

    [​IMG]
    You hold the lantern upright until the candle has filled the inside with hot air, then as it becomes light, you let it go...

    [​IMG]
    Looking up, it looks like something from an astronomy textbook!

    If you think this is not entirely safe for airplanes, you're right. On the night of Yi Peng, you're only allowed to launch lanterns within a small window of time in the evening of the full moon. During that time, all flights are routed around the Chiang Mai area. If you launch a lantern outside of this window, you face stiff penalties up to and including the death sentence. Yes, you can actually be put to death for having too much fun.

    [​IMG]
    But nobody here is thinking anything remotely close to that
  10. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    [​IMG]
    Iva launches her own wish up into the sky

    [​IMG]
    Although Loi Krathong is the main national event, in Chiang Mai Yi Peng is by far the more popular activity

    [​IMG]
    Throughout the night, thousands of these lanterns are released

    After all the tourists leave at the end of Loi Krathong, it's up to a cadre of local volunteers mostly made up of university students, to scour the dam's reservoir of Krathongs and hiking up the hills around Chiang Mai to collect the landed Khom Loi. It's not a job that's much-publicized, but an essential part of the lifecycle of the festival.

    [​IMG]
    Fireworks explode, providing a brilliant backdrop to the rising khom loi

    [​IMG]

    Paper lantern hopes and wishes
    Held high with both hands
    Lit up from inside with
    equal parts imagination and willpower

    Dream hard and let go
    And let's see where it flies off to


    - Yi Peng, Chiang Mai 2558 BE / Toronto June 14th, 2012
  11. Balanda

    Balanda Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2013
    Oddometer:
    347
    Location:
    Katherine, Australia
    "Gene and Neda, Peace, Love and Happiness" amen to that.
    Wingboy likes this.
  12. bluestar

    bluestar sheep shagger

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    26,950
    Location:
    sheep pen
    I can't believe there wasn't a "release the kraken" joke in there. :D
    Steigs likes this.
  13. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    :)

    I just clicked on Google and the doodle of the day is the Chinese Lantern Festival, what a coincidence!

    They created a little web app so you can draw on your own lantern and launch it. You can view all the other lanterns that other people have created by clicking on "Sky View". See if you can find the one I launched a few minutes ago! :)

    https://chinesenewyear.withgoogle.com/
    gfh and Tiffany like this.
  14. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,014
    Location:
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    Hi Gene,
    Is there any issue with fires being started by flaming lanterns landing in the trees etc?:hair
    Regards....just jeff
  15. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,605
    Location:
    Banámichi, Sonora, Mexico
    Fantastic photos, you perfectly captured the light of the Festival of Light. And the photo of Neda looking into the sky is wonderful.

    We used to make lanterns with dry cleaners bags, plastic straws and birthday candles. The candles would burn down and set the straws on fire and drip flames. That was cool but these are so much cooler.
  16. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,909
    Is it possible to make a Krathong large enough to hold my ex? :D
    Kidding......just kidding! Great installment, guys!
  17. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,605
    Location:
    Banámichi, Sonora, Mexico
    I was kind of wondering what the folks down stream think about sending all that bad luck their way
  18. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,014
    Location:
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    I was thinking I wouldn't want to be swimming in that river with all that bad luck floating around me!!:lol3
    JJ
  19. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    You mean like this?

    [​IMG]

    The paper lanterns seem to be coated with a flame retardant, so they don't catch fire as easily from the candle. It can happen, but it takes a sustained flame to light a lantern on fire. Like when they land in a tree sideways...

    Some tourists had the "bright" idea of attaching fireworks to the bottom of the lantern. As it rises, the fireworks go off giving off a light show. Unfortunately you have to time the lighting of the fireworks so they go off when they're in the air and the lanterns seem to have a mind of their own as to when they'll take off. So there were a lot of fireworks going off at ground level, or when the lanterns were just above our heads, shooting fireworks off into the crowd. They were dangerously close to hitting a lot of people, and that was our cue to leave for the evening.

    Chiang Mai fire department were on standby the whole evening, but I think they were attending to people getting hurt doing stupid things rather than stuff being set on fire. Full Moon parties attract a lot of drunken farangs who do stupid things.

    Yes, especially when there are thousands of them all in the air at the same time!

    In the moat around the old city of Chiang Mai, there were huge floats like this one:

    [​IMG]

    I don't have a picture, but one of them was a Krathong the size of the float above. I'm sure you could fit a few ex-wives in there... :rofl
  20. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,539
    Location:
    No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
    Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/274.html

    [​IMG]

    The full moon celebrations are still in full swing in Chiang Mai. Typically throughout the rest of the year, the population here numbers around 400,000 people, but during Yi Peng, an additional 200,000 tourists flock to the city, exploring every nook and cranny during the week around the full moon. We arrived a few weeks before all the mayhem, but because we're travel fatigued, we didn't venture out too much. Now with Iva pulling us out into the city during the few short days that she's here, we're astounded at just how many people are here.

    [​IMG]
    The old town of Chiang Mai used to be walled off in a square. You can see the configuration in the map above.

    Today, most of the walls have crumbled away, only the four corners and a few bits exist along the moat that still surrounds the old city. We still don't know the city very well, but we use these corners and wall bits to orient ourselves when we're navigating through Chiang Mai.

    [​IMG]
    Wat Lok Moli. This is the closest temple to us and we pass it all the time when we head to the old city

    Tonight, we're walking to the Sunday Night Walking Street Market, which is held near the Tae Phae Gate, on the other side of the city. As we get closer to the old town the crowds become a lot thicker.

    [​IMG]
    Lanterns at Wat Lok Moli. Some of these smaller, lesser known temples are not as crowded during Yi Peng, but they are still decorated quite nicely