March 5, 2013
I wake up with a cold. Breakfast in the dining car where pleasantly warm air flows through the open windows, gradually dethawing our frozen bones, after a night spent in what felt like a deep freezer. Shortly before noon, after 17 hours of train travel, arrival in Chiang Mai, where we find a place to stay and go out for a walk. The quiet, clean atmosphere of the city is a positive contrast to Bangkok.
At the Wat Phra Singh (Wat = monastery temple, Singh = lion, the lion monastery) we’re deeply impressed by the sight of monks meditating without moving or so much as batting an eyelash. From a distance their faces look expressionless and blurry. Up close they take on form and shape, and yet something in their appearance makes me feel oddly breathless. Imagine a path to such self control that bodily functions like blinking and breathing become redundant?