Happy Birthday, Your Highness!

Friday, December 6, 12:37 AM
Chiang Mai, Thailand

A day in Chiang MY Part 1: HAPPY BDAY YOUR MAJESTY!
(for the loyal and reverent, who still read this sappy dribble)

I officially love Chiang Mai. It’s now my fifth time passing through here, and it just gets better every time. I didn’t even plan to stay here this time, but I passed through on my way back down to Bangkok from Laos, got smitten all over again and sucked in, so I postponed my onward bus ticket until the latest possible one that’ll get me into Bangkok with enough time to pack up my bike in a box for my flight to New Zealand on Tuesday. I’m here again because it’s the largest city in the north, a hub for exploring all things up here, but it’s also officially the crown jewel of the North, a gorgeous city, big and small enough to have it all, so it’s always a pleasure. Long story short, I feel like I could live here. There, I said it.

As usual, since I’m too long-winded, I can’t write about anything but today, which was magical. Oh, and speaking of Today, it’s the Kings Birthday! Happy Birthday, King Bhumibol Adulyadej! He’s 82, and still the longest reigning monarch in the country’s history. There was a big parade in Bangkok last night, all lit-up with floats of a million LEDs, the likes of which Disney would give their big white-gloved thumbs-up of approval to. I was playing ping-pong in a guesthouse foyer with some kids and they put it on the TV. Tomorrow, in honor of his majesty, there will be a huge food fest, giving of alms at the temples to pray for his lasting health and happiness, a candlelit procession by the main gate of the moat-surrounded inner Chiang Mai town, in addition to the lady at my favorite vegetarian restaurant serving completely free food all day. I’m excited to have the opportunity of celebrating him on my last day in town.

The King and my Green Monster
Parade floats painted the Bangkok streets with illuminated splendour
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