Monday, November 18, 2013

Keeps Getting Better!

Except for the painful stomach cramps and the runs, everything is awesome.  No sarcasm intended.  Last night was (as far as I can make it out) the real full moon Loy Krathong and just being around my guesthouse was incredible.
One reason I stay here is the Sunday Walking Street Market is just down the alley.  It's always really fun but this year it was at least half again as big as last year's.  Basically the street is blocked off to traffic and there are endless stalls selling endless stuff....a lot of it really cool stuff.  A lot of repetition, but also artisans with their work.  I bought a couple of hats from a tiny stall.  They were clearly all made by the same person, or workshop, and not a commercial venture.  I'd been looking for a new hat for a long time!  
It's also a foodie's dream.  (Except that picture above is a bunch of insects...not my cup of tea). Every temple has a big food court with everything from tiny quail eggs to the best pad thai you'll likely find anywhere.  And all wasted on me.  I had a fresh coconut to drink and that was that.  In fact that's all I've had for the last 24 hours or so.  But I just ordered sticky rice with banana.  Ms. Kajana asked if I was feeling better and thought this might be good for me to eat.
So last night all the businesses and many homes had little candles set up along the front of their establishments.  Everything was illuminated and magical, but the best of all was the temple down the way...the old teak one with the reflecting pool.  I knew it was going to be a special thing there, but it was so magical it was even better than the big lantern release at Mae Jo.
When I arrived the place was thronged with tourists, the temple lit up with hundreds of big clay pots holding bees wax candles, some of them up on stakes about three feet high.  Monks with freshly shaved heads and those gorgeous saffron robes were launching the sky lanterns.  
Oh My God.  The I got in deep enough to see the reflecting pool.  The edge was lined with photographers with big expensive cameras and huge lenses.  Because it was the most beautiful thing in Thailand!  I got right in there with them, with my little point and shoot camera.  Everyone I could see was very happy, or in a total state of awe.  You can see why.
I hung out there for a while and the monks eventually finished launching their lanterns, and then regular folks were doing it.  These lanterns are on sale all over town, but not there at the temple!  I left and bought one from a street vendor who wasn't actually selling them.  He very kindly sold me one from his own stash, after consulting with his lady friend.  
So back I went, looking for someone to help me launch it.  These lanterns are big!  And I found three young monks and asked them if they would help me.  It was a trip standing with them and having about 30 people taking our photo.  I was almost ecstatically happy, and I had a very clear idea of what to let go of along with the lantern.  
This time I watched it sail away for a long long time.  
So that was the high point of many high points for me so far on this trip.  
Today, after a year and some thousands of dollars, and many thousands of miles I finally got my new teeth.  I'm sharing my first meal with them, sticky rice with banana, with you, dear reader.  
Sawadee Krahp.  

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