We returned from our home-stay in time to change clothes (back into the smelly ones!) and load up the trucks. My body hurt, but in a good way. Like after a great workout or one of Tony's Pain Cave sessions.
We arrived at Tigerland Farms and headed out to the fields. Today, we were going to re-plant the seediings that we had pulled the day before. This involved separating each seedling, combining 3-4 of them, and manually sticking them in the mud so that their stems were above the surface of the water. Although it was time-consuming, this was far easier (especially on my back!) than the harvest.
The mud seemed much stickier today so it was hard to stand up. Right before lunch, I lost my battle with balance and ended up seated in the muck. So now I was hot, sweaty, and wearing soaking wet pants. Good thing we only had about 3 hours to go!
We finished re-planting all of our seedlings around 3:30. Mirror had a reward for us after all that hard work! (Not beer, sadly. There is no drinking at Mirror.) But we did get a trip to a waterfall where we could swim and cool off after all that hard work. It felt great! The mud on my pants had since dried, but it was nice to feel somewhat clean.
As we re-loaded our trucks to return to Mirror, I reflected on the past few days: This was my first time to do outside work as a volunteer and I really loved it! The experience gave me the opportunity to work side-by-side with some of the local people and see the area outside the city. Although I have enjoyed my previous volunteer experiences working with children, it was really cool to look at the work we had done and see the finished product! I am looking forward to doing this type of work again in Zambia.
When we arrived back at Mirror, everyone was eager to shower and head into Chiang Rai. I had not really seen the city (other than the Night Market) so I was interested to get to explore. We took songtows into town, and I agreed to meet some people for dinner before going my separate way.
At this point in my travels, I have seen many beautiful wats. It reminds be of the tour of churches that is a vital part of any European vacation (or as someone from Australia referred to it - the ABC tour, meaning "Another Bloody Church"). But there was one real highlight of this evening - the Blue Temple (real name Rong Sear Tean Temlple).
I was fortunate to arrive at dusk so I got to see it in daylight and at night. And I happened to arrive at a time where the only person there was a monk who was vacuuming the rugs. This meant that I got to see this place without being surrounded by selfie sticks (I really hate those things! People seem to forget that others are around them while using them! IMHO).
I cannot wait to post pictures as this place is beautiful! It is unique and blue. Most other temples are gold so this provided a really nice contrast to the others which I had seen. I wandered around for bit and I even got to see the sunset behind its white stupa (dictionary.com defines this as a "monumental pile of earth or other material in memory of Buddha"; I think of them as white edifices that tend to be shaped like the top of a bishop in chess).
As I left the Blue Temple, a huge tour bus was pulling up. Lucky girl!
I finished the evening with dinner at a lovely restaurant (Chivit Thamma da Coffee House and Bistro) that seemed out of place in this environment. It was right along the river and looked like it would fit right into a Charleston or New Orleans neighborhood. We had a great, non-Thai meal capped off with dessert from their in-house bakery. A perfect way to end my week at the Mirror.