April 23/23-Black House and the Golden Triangle from Chiang Rai

Population of Chiang Rai is only 120,000…. Quite small.

First we are going to the Baandam Museum (Black House in Thai). The grand master, Thalang Duchanee, taught one of his students that was responsible for building the White Temple (which we will see tomorrow) and that student in turn taught one of his students that designed and built the Blue Temple (also seen tomorrow). He showed in his art the dark side of people, of their spirit. His art (paintings) are really quite “black” or evil looking never mind the use of crocodiles and water buffalo horns in his art. This building was built in his honour with his own money. Its quite a large property with lots of buildings , some in the northernThai style….built on stilts (even the stairs can be lifted up into the buildings) to protect the family from marauding animals and flooding. Last night at the hotel…shortly after coming back from dinner, the skies opened up as it did the day before. This morning on the way to the Black House, we saw political signs along the highway blown to smithereens and here, the amount of storm damage was quite severe….broken trunks and branches and a hole in the roof. They must have had it worse than where we were.

To calculate BE, if it says 2565 BE on the “eastern” calendar to get the date in our calendar you have to minus 543 (would be 2022 AD)

Now to “Golden Triangle” where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. It used to be “the” trading centre for opium. Now it’s the casino centre…. Lol! We see the huge Mekong River. Other side is Laos. The land that the huge casino and hotel complexes is leased by Chinese businessmen, led by gangster-tycoon (according to “The Diplomat”) Zhao Wei, is trying to make it the World’s largest casino complex. Apparently, according to that story, he has been involved with human trafficking, wildlife smuggling and drug production. Nice person, huh???

While at the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak Rivers we also stopped in on the Opium Museum.

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