Friday, June 01, 2007

Llama does something cultural (Llama)

Last night I went bowling. Very cultural, yes? OK, maybe not. But it was fun! My middle finger (finger 2) has some kind of painful infection, though, so I couldn't bowl normally. Instead of using fingers 2 and 3, I used fingers 1 and 3 (index and ring). Finger 2 just kind of stuck out, flat against the ball. I could bowl alright, but wasn't in the least bit accurate. My high score after three games was 101.

But after bowling I actually did do something cultural. Yesterday the Thais celebrated "Wisakha Bucha" day, which, as I understand it, is when Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment, and died. It's like Christmas and Easter all rolled into one. Anyway, on the way home from bowling I went to one of the local wats. There were many people there... maybe 1,000?

The path leading up to the Wat was filled with vendors selling everything from food to jewelry to Buddhist amulets. I stopped to buy a lotus and some incense. Once at the Wat, I asked a stranger to please light my candle, which I then used to light the incense. I then joined the crowd of Thais that were circling the temple. I was supposed to circle three times, reflecting on my life. In reality, most of my attention was given to not bumping into someone else that was carrying a lit candle.

After three trips around the Wat, which took about 10 minutes to complete, I melted the bottom of my candle and attempted to affix it to this metal railing outside the Wat. This was difficult, however, and I was unable to get enough wax down to hold the candle up. Eventually I just kind of leaned it against the rail. Then I stuck the burning incense in a trough of sand below the rail, and laid the lotus on a table behind all of this. And that was it.

It was interesting; I was definitely an outsider. I saw only one other farang the whole time. But for the most part I was made to feel welcome.

Now if I can just find a puppet show...



Mamaebeth said...

i think i went to the same holiday at the temple in BR a few years ago, or i was told it was Buddha's birthday at any rate. it may have been one of the bodi satvas (Sp?) though...
they had the best buddha's delight at the pot luck after wards.

Drew said...

Sounds very internsting Were you alone or with a friend? Maybe if there is a next time, you will be more comfortable and spend less time navigating and get a little more reflecting done Something we all could use.. Mom