30 December 2012
This was to be rather a ‘ground hog day’ (from movie of the same name) for me: I knew that I would be repeating some of the sights from the day before but when we met in reception I discovered that Bo our guide from yesterday was to accompany us today as well. We set off in reverse order to wend our way to the nearby pier and board a trusty long tail boat for a trip through the klongs. This time though we had our group of 12 plus another 6 so we were sitting very close to the water and for many of us the water regularly came over the sides to drench us every time we were buffeted by the wake of a passing craft. Thankfully we were provided with life jackets and we stuck mostly to the main klong because cornering produced a heart stopping list to one side from which recovery wasn’t always a certain event. Although we saw much less of the area, we were rewarded with much more human happenings klongside. We were able to determine that it was rubbish day as we saw many people carefully placing their tied plastic shopping bags in precarious positions atop walls and fences.
Wat Pho also provided a different experience with masses of prayer flags celebrating the ordination of a fresh crop of monks who are able to select the period they wished for this experience from a month to 3 years or always. A monk for a day. …? It seemed to me that even that could be tiresome: it is forbidden for a woman to touch a monk or his orange robes. If such a mishap should occur, they must tell all the other monks, repent and ask forgiveness not to mention washing copiously.
We also visited other temples within the complex I hadn’t seen previously and participated in various rituals like shaking the numbered sticks in container until one drops out. You then take the corresponding numbered paper to learn of your impending fortune.
“The fifteenth leaf tells fortune liking the lord power of Buddha won all devils. All evils are not coming to bear. One who gets this No.15 will have power. Everything you are thinking will be succeeded. All your sickness will be recovered. Do not worry about your lost thing you will return back surely. Your loving affairs are surely fine. You will be prosperous. No one can hurt you. Helpers will help you if you get a hard work. To get this leaflet you will be happy.”
So a good year for me ahead but pity the retired man who discovered a baby daughter was on the way and legal affairs would not be good – much to the surprise of his wife who was not told to expect Immaculate Conception.
Back to the hotel and lunch at the restaurant next door. Ground hog day continued when I was served by the same waitress as the day before and she asked if I wanted my usual. Ingrid, Sarah and I then decided to return to our favourite massage place to experience ‘head, neck and shoulders’ before heading to Bangkok Central Station to board our overnight train to Chiang Mai.
We clustered in a cavernous and largely seatless station hall, stacking our bags in a giant heap so that we could take it in turns to seek out vital provisions for the train. On board we had the relative luxury of pairs of seats that could be converted into semicomfortable bunks complete with privacy curtains. Despite the heat outside we sought out fleeces, socks, towels, blankets and anything else we could find to ward off the punishing cold of the air-conditioning. A lucky few slept soundly while I made a mental note never again to get a seat by the hydraulic doors leading to the bathroom that hissed open and closed as the entire cabin made their individual nightly comfort stops.
For this and other similar tours see:
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
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