Monday, February 09, 2009

Romancing the 9 Temples

9th Feb 2009 a holiday. Something Buddha come down from sky day again. This weekend, many Thais took to the streets to Tamboon. Like when buying cars, Thais will go full option where possible with all the fog lights, leather seats, navigation, 18 inch wheels and what not. This holiday period, Thais does a full option Tamboon. To pray at any selected 9 temples. Why 9 I asked, why are Thais so fascinated by the number 9. 9 is the biggest number before 0. 9 is the biggest. Must thus be 9 temples the Thais will visit, 9 big number equals good number.

We did a visit of 9 temples with lunch at the floating market. An unusual Tamboon compared to my office staffs driving up to Ayutthaya in a car, gig, family and all the moo barn folks had ours by boat. We “mao-ler”, or in other words, engaged one of those river Taxis all to ourselves for the pilgrimage which started at 7 in the morning.

Getting on and off the piers is an everyday thing to some here. Old as they are the senior citizens, they jumped from jetty to ship without falling into the brown Chaopaya. The river Taxis, all part of life for them, bet your grandma can’t do that, not to mention, do that for like 20 times in one day.

Walk, more walks, and some climbs. Wat Arun was steep and to some it could have been Everest. Steps so steep, I was prepared to see the Koreans on their tour cartwheel a couple of times off the sides of the temple. Of course, it didn’t happen or this blog will be filled with them injured pictures.

Fish, fishes and more fish. Everywhere there’s a temple, the rivers were just teaming with them. Feed and we all fed, the catfish so big and fat.

Rub them trees, rubba rub rub till the barks reveal them numbers for your Lottery. The old folks gathered as the playful kid rubbed. I was on a high ledge photographing, the kid came up to me and asked of me to pray to the tree, the numbers he cannot see, the blame he put on me. Diligently I obeyed and the rubbing continued. Soon after the old folks started to take out their notes and pens, scribbled the magical numbers which appeared they did.

The ledge of any temples I was told, never to step on them I never knew. It is disrespectful to the Buddha, as the action is like putting your foot above the temple. Do that at your own risk if believe me one will not, and have them cats by the ledge mysteriously attack you like tigers, between your legs they rip out your pongs pongs. I prefer the cats to stay where they are, gingerly, I entered the premise.

One thing ingenious about Thai people, they are very efficient in space usage. Under bridges, along walkways, right in front of their houses, given any empty plots of land, they will turn them into some makeshift shops selling sporadic items or restaurants. Here on the floating platforms which are suppose to be piers, they sprawled tables on it and turn them into a food court.

We all know of Noah’s Ark, I saw the Thai version if it. 2 years ago when I first visited this temple, it was under construction. 2 years later now, it is still under construction. Slowly the donations poured in, slowly the temple takes shape.

By 5pm the day was almost over. I was reduced to a rubble of melted gooey puddle. Drained of energy, and my thirst never quenched by all the bottles of mineral water. February the hot months had began, my sweating does the overdrive run. 9 temples in a day by boat, the full option Thai Tamboon pilgrimage. I only paid THB$250, that’s 10 dollars sing (SGP$) for it. Thailand the land of a million temples I presume, the temples the burning incense fumed.

Click here for full photo sets under Nine Temples Feb 2009.

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