The next day we got up and started hitting the streets. They actually have street sign here, so for the first time in a while I could use a map and navigate the place. I didn't feel too bad, but I was not gonna risk eating food. With my belly still questionable I stuck the proverbial cork up my ass and toughed it out.
We didn't have to walk too far before we hit our first Wat (temple). These amazingly colorful and ornate structures are all over the city. The insides are decorated with sparkling gold while floors are carpeted brilliant red. The Buddhists roam around in their orange or crimson robes and the faithful kneel with hands full of burning incense and flowers. Some of the temples sell small birdcages filled with your basic city finches to be purchased for the devotees who then make their prayers before releasing the birds who fly off probably to be caught and sold another day. I can only assume it is a act representing the release of something the individual wants to let go of.
Every temple we visited was crowded with golden Buddha statues. You could also buy small flakes of gold leaf to adorn the statues even more. We saw the 46 meter tall standing buddha and we came upon the famous reclining Buddha which may have been even bigger. Both status were,of course, completely gold. The last Wat we visited at dusk was the laughing Buddha temple which is only open to the public once a month and happened to be on that day. We sat and listened to the monks chant their prayers as the day came to a close.
After we made our way back to our guest house we sat and enjoyed the evening with a group of traveled from Austria where we gathered lots of good information and wonderful hints about getting around the area. It didn't take long before my German started falling back into a condition that I could feel good about basic communication. Shanti Lodge, a place recommended to us by a friend in Colorado proved to be a wonderful retreat with great food, fun travelers, happy smiling staff, and comfortable charm. We signed up to receive Thai massages there for breakfast the first thing the next morning.
|From 2011-01-11 xillas|