Since there are soooooo many pictures from just Friday, I’ll do it separately from the rest of the weekend. We had culture time with Doni and for our excursion, we went to what I’m going to call the bamboo forest wat. It was a large complex, with a lot of different Buddha statues, and it was incredibly beautiful. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking…
We stopped at 7/11 before hitting up the road for the wat, and we all tried these jello juice drinks that Doni recommended. I really liked the taste of mine, but I couldn’t quite get over the fact that there were jello pieces in my juice…
One of Buddha’s monkey guardians, out by the parking lot
the bamboo forest on either side of the path
Buddha idol #1
#2 – the Burmese Buddha
I believe this is the Chinese Buddha but I’m not totally sure
While we were looking at this one, the lady you see here hurried up with her suitcase, took off her shoes, and immediately started praying to the Buddha. It was really interesting to see how much of a priority this was for her since she had obviously just arrived or was just about the leave. Oh by the way, the big pink thing he is sitting on is suppose to be a lotus flower.
This is going to sound really vague, but you know that Asian gong sound that is in like every American movie that is set in Asia, ever? Well here’s the source.
Here is the map of the complex. If you look really closely you can see Nemo and Dori near the top.
An idol of the water goddess, appropriately placed right before the large fish ponds
By the fish pond, there was a wall filled with murals depicting the story of Buddha’s journey to enlightenment. Here’s the first one, where he is still the rich, young prince (on the left). He is discontented with life and takes a walk on which he sees an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and then a Hindu monk. I don’t know the whole story really well, but his walk convinces him that he should give up his wealth for a life of suffering.
Here’s another mural, much later in the story. Remember the water goddess statue? Here she is, protecting Buddha from the evil spirits.
You could feed the fish, and the second that food landed in the water, a bazillion fish converged on it as you can see. The fish pond mostly contained catfish, very large goldfish, and turtles.
Look at all the fish!
This is the meditation bridge. The gaps between the plates are suppose to make you slow down and meditate as you cross. As a reference, my foot easily fit in the gaps between plates, so I was contemplating staying on the bridge while I was on it.
Ohmigosh! scary bridge!
A wat is not just a temple, but the entire temple complex. The monks live in the wat in houses that look like this.
It was evident at the bamboo wat that a lot of effort had gone into making all the idols and their enclosures, which were cool to see. Yet they couldn’t compare with the peaceful, little bamboo forests, or the way the sunlight played on the brilliantly green leaves. My eyes were drawn past the statues to the crazy variety of plants that surrounded me, and the color of the bright sunlight as it filtered through the soft green canopy. There was no comparison.
An extremely tall Buddha statue, and just to give you an idea of scale, I’m just a tad taller than the pink lotus flower it is standing on – While we were walking around the wat complex, Jason mentioned that idols this big really made the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego come alive. Looking at this guy, I totally agreed. While there are plenty of idols in the states, there aren’t really any tangible ones. Seeing literal statue-idols, and people offering them food and drink and bowing down to them has breathed new life into my understanding of the Old Testament.
As I stood before this statue, my eyes were continually drawn away from it, to the clouds behind. Clouds are a little tricky to get right in pictures, but I tried anyways. The statue just looked so insignificant and flimsy in front of the dramatic grandeur of the clouds behind that I couldn’t help but wonder why worship this image that man had created, instead of the creator of something so beautiful and out-of-human-control as the clouds. My response to this idol: but look at the clouds!
remember, look at the clouds
For any Lord of the Rings nerds out there, the color and style of the pillars reminded me of Theoden’s Hall at Edoras, minus the Buddha images
There are statues of fish and turtles on the right side of the fountain
There was also a tank on the side of another, smaller fountain, with 3 fish that were longer than I am tall. I believe Emily’s post has more specific info about these fish if you’re curious. http://thethaitrek.wordpress.com/
There were a lot of roosters and chickens sort of wondering around.
There were 2 enormous elephants outside of one of the Buddha houses. Can you find me??
Jason and Doni
On our way home we stopped at the stand by our house and got grilled chicken, khao niaw (sticky rice), and som tam thai (green papaya salad) for lunch
It was decided that Jenna would drive back from the stand to our house. Now, as you can see, something is different about driving in Thailand. Yes, that’s right, they drive on the right side of the car. Jenna did a fabulous job driving the 1 minute back to the villa, minus the fact she turned the windshield wipers on instead of her turn signal