Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nong Khai, Thailand

Monday morning I packed my bags again and headed to Don Muang International Airport for my flight out of Bangkok. After an hour long flight, I arrived in Udon Thani and took a van for an hour long drive to Nong Khai. Nong Khai is a town in the Northeast of Thailand right on the Mekong River.

Our first stop was the Friendship Bridge, which is the border crossing to Laos. With the exception of the driver, another girl and myself - everyone got out at this stop. The girl, Rachel, and I introduced ourselves to each other and proceeded to find out we were both staying at the same place, doing the same yoga course. Rachel and I finally arrived at the Mut Mee Guesthouse, a lovely place at the end of a lane consisting of some thatch roof bungalows, some little houses and some patio areas overlooking the Mekong River and Laos in the near distance.

It was an intense week. Four of us, Jesse & Mical from Canada, Rachel from Ireland and I, signed up for a 7 day intensive yoga course. I ended up doing this course at Pantrix based on the recommendation from my friend Teba. Our days were long, yoga practice twice a day, theory, meditation and more. At times it was difficult both physically and mentally but I am so happy I did the course. Pancho and Beatrix, who run the course, are incredibly special people and I am blessed that I could spend some time learning with them.

So along with lots of yogaing, it was a fairly quiet week. Breakfasts and dinners overlooking the Mekong, strolls along the river and through the markets, and a few nights hanging out at Gaia, the floating bar and lounge.

We celebrated Loi Krathong Festival. The festival is to venerate the river goddess and for good luck. It is also to venerate Buddha and symbolic of letting go of one's grudges and anger so one can start life again fresh and new. Very interesting. Rachel and I made our own Krathongs. Krathongs are little shrines out of pieces of banana trees that are decorated in banana leaves, flowers, incense and candles. The Krathong is lit, a wish or prayer is made and then the Krathong is launched into the river. It was a full moon and a magical night with all these shrines and candles floating down the river and the smell of incense permeating the air.

We finished our course on Monday and on Tuesday it was another day of sad goodbyes. For me it was time to go down to Bangkok again and off I went.

1 comment:

Luftyldr said...

Ahhhh, the Mekong River...left a few friends there a few years back and a little part of my mind..say a prayer...thanx...Tom