Buddhist Monks Love Jolly Ranchers

IMG 1243 opt 300x157 Buddhist Monks Love Jolly Ranchers

Jan 30. Day 46. I woke up refreshed and eager to collect my Indian Visa (click here for step by step instructions if you want to get a visa for India while in Chiang Mai). After picking up my credentials, I swung by the rail station and the melodic peaceful record that was playing in my head scratched to a grinding halt. All trains were booked – Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The only way to get out in time to begin the next phase of my journey was to leave that day. I bought my ticket, scurried back to the house, packed, simplified, and downsized a few items, cleaned up my room, did the dishes (enter sarcastic remark from Rachelle my roommate here), wrote my goodbyes and best wishes to the wonderful roommate I had for the previous month, and headed out. I needed to return my scooter, collect my 3,000 the deposit, and walk to the train station. On the way, I got some fried sweet potato wedges (did I mention yet how much I loved Chiang Mai street food?). I walked through the Tha Pae gate one last time and thought of a Mishka song that has become synonymous with this trip, “Footsteps.” As I approached the station, I saw a gathering of monks and gave one of them 100 thb. He has me take off my pack, put down all of my things, and kneel down. He took my hand, said a prayer, and blew lightly across my hand and arm. I bowed, thanked him in thai, and gathered my things. Onward.

300px Chiang Mai Train Station Buddhist Monks Love Jolly Ranchers

As I waited to board, I sent my good friend Damian and his wife a few messages. In a sense, my goodbyes. I couldn’t help it; I teared up. It’s amazing how quickly perfect strangers become such close friends. I hopped on the train and grabbed my seat. I immediately met Paul from the UK. He was a seasoned traveler with a remarkable sense of memory. He gave me many tips for my time in the UK. I could barely keep up with jotting down these priceless bits of information as they continued to pour out of him like water from a fire plug.

IMG 2937 opt 300x225 Buddhist Monks Love Jolly Ranchers

An hour later, 2 monks sat across from me. It looked as though my journey would be protected in more ways than one. I offered them each a jolly rancher and they seemed to LOVE them. They lit up in smiles and excitement. In return, one of them reached into his rucksack and produced a small plastic ziplock bag. Inside was a tuft of tiger fur. It was in a glass vial and attached to a necklace. I had heard about these but had never seen one. He held it in his hands, closed his eyes, and spoke something in Thai I couldn’t understand. I assumed it was a protection prayer. Then he handed it to me and said, “for you.” I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I lit up like a light. I spoke very limited and broken Thai. They spoke even more limited and broken English. Luckily for all of us, smiles were universal. My time in Chiang Mai has been amazing. Just then, they asked me for more Jolly Ranchers. Be well. And namaste.


What profound experiences have you had along your journeys?

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2 Responses to “Buddhist Monks Love Jolly Ranchers”

  1. mdaviswrites says:

    A professional travel writer in Asia for 20 years, I’d say, yes, you’ll see plenty of lovely folks, palm trees, etc., but that darker side also jumps up, too. don’t be stupid; don’t make trouble; watch your back.

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