I?d like to say that Frank the cockroach was a dear friend. In point of fact I hardly knew him.
But in life and in death, Frank gave me the creeps.

His rendition of ?Happy Birthday? was off key. His political views were inconsistent. He dressed poorly.

Nonethess, after his loss it was necessary to recharge my spiritual battery, and after disposing of his carcass, we left Bangkok and flew to Chiang Mai, in the North of Thailand. Chiang Mai lies beneath a low mountain in a broad valley of lush tropical terrain. The food is characteristic of Northern Thailand - pungent and spiced with fresh ginger and galangal, fiery chilies, fragant Asian lime leaves and lemon grass, and fresh Thai basil. My favorite dish was the local rice sausage, stuffed with chopped pork and rice, and dipped in sweet chili sauce. The best rice sausages were sold by vendors along the road to the Doi Suthep Temple complex high on the western flanking mountain of Chiang Mai.

Doi Suthep is the spiritual (and tourist) Capitol of the region. The temple complex consists of a central chapel surrounded by square of Buddhist shrines dating back to 1400 A.D.. To reach it, the visitors must climb a series of 190 steps flanked by enameled dragons. My knees were protesting somewhere after the first 100 or so steps, but ultimately, we made it to the top. There are said to be many legends about the temple, none of which include talking cockroaches.

The temple grounds are surrounded by white, yellow and violet orchids and brightly flowering trees. It’s been almost a week since I left Chang Mai, but I can still see the colors when I close my eyes at night...