Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Into It

As I said in my last post, after watching the dancers for a time, I wandered back into the actual Wat. This was an amazing experience. There were several courtyards with different ways to "make merit" which in this case means to make a small donation, burn some incense and say some prayers.
 Ever the ignoramus, I really don't know what signifies what or why one would choose one form over another of prayer. There are images of the Buddha as an old man, and a large drum, or one can ring one of the bells in the corners, or one can simply enter the inner courtyard, minus shoes, and walk in circles and pray directly at the foot of the tower at the center.

 In the outer courtyard there were a number of Buddha statues and there was at least one man all in white lost in meditation there. Because of the festival this inner courtyard was hugely crowded, and interspersed with the Thai tourists were the dancers coming and going and getting ready and taking pictures, etc. 
There were also various tourist attractions such as these birds you could "buy" and let go to make merit. A sucker for the little buggers crammed in their tiny cages, I gave the lady 50 baht (pretty expensive since I buy an incredible lunch most days for 30 baht) and let two go. Later my friend Kate informed me that that birds are trained to come back for food!
You could feed an elephant  sugar cane for 20 baht. Once a major part of the Thai workforce, elephants are now replaced by machines in almost every region, but they still show up regularly at festivals with their owners making some money this way. It is a little upsetting, but the handlers and the elephants do not seem at odds.
In fact the first week of November we are slated to attend the elephant festival in Surin- a big elephant event. These are the smaller Asian elephants and they are phenomenal. I love touching their bizarre hides and coarse hair. They have the most amazing eyes and move with a beautiful grace. We met an older tourist couple from Holland who informed us that there was some serious flooding going on in other parts of Thailand. As we are cut off from most news, this came as a surprise. Since then, I have been trying to keep up better by reading the Bangkok Post online which is posted in English.

Here is my favorite shot of the day, a young monk taking a few photos of his own under an insanely gorgeous tree.


  1. did you try your hand at feeding the elephant? That would have been my first stop!

  2. At least those little guys got a chance to get some exercise.Were they finches of some sort?

  3. Everyone wins: the monks gets funds, the birds exercise and the donor feels good

  4. It's true, I felt good for a little while and the birds, while cramped in the cages, looked fed and fully feathered. I am not sure if they were finches or something more of a sparrow. They had very little in the way of markings.