Waiting in front of the temple:
Last view of flat land from the bed of a twincab:
The nice paved bits:
The unpaved sections weren't as dusty as expected (no place can beat Sayabouly in Laos when it comes to dust anyway), but it was clear that Coffee Journeys wouldn't be possible during the rainy season.
Familiar landscape - very little primary forest left, most of the existing forest is secondary growth:
Chiangrai city somewhere down there:
The annual haze kicked in 2 days later - on our return journey Chiangrai would no longer be visible.
明朗村 Ming Lang village, Huay Nam Khun - the Chinese village ~4 rather steep KM below Ban Maejantai:
Kids from Ban Maejantai & other neighbouring villages attend the primary & secondary school here. A few years ago, Lee returned with Child's Dream to build a boarding house & renovate the classrooms of his alma mater (photos from the opening ceremony here). Quite a few in the group asked Lee how he made the daily trek to/from school in the days before motorbikes & twincabs, especially during the rainy season.
5th day of Chinese New Year - the couplets are identical to those in Singapore, & this wooden house is similar to the one built by the cat's maternal grandfather:
Like how the bottom part of the door is painted to match the concrete foundations :)
Gong Xi Fa Cai - $$$ is never far from the minds of Chinese people:
At least half of Ming Lang village's population seemed to be crowded around the gambling tables at the village fair...just like how gambling is very much a part of Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore.
Someone asked the cat about these white paper decorations:
The cut portions are supposed to resemble copper coins tied together with string. In the old days coins had holes through the centre & they could be tied together with string to form larger denominations of 一贯铜钱 (1 string of 1000 copper coins). 1 tael of gold = 10 taels of silver = 10 'strings' of copper coins = 10000 copper coins.
Stopped by a shop to buy a big fat load of 'alu' (potato) for making the well-loved Akha mashed potato dish & boiled potato soup, & for people to stock up on 'city food'. No idea what these white roots sitting on top of the garlic are: