In the morning, we visited the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Po). I learned a lot about Buddhism on this trip. The Buddhists also have a beginning of time story not so different from ours as Christians. There is a struggle of good versus evil. They also have a holy book…monks…beautiful places of worship…the giving of donations…and the afterlife.
I didn’t realize this before, but there are many Buddha’s not just one. I also didn’t know that they believe in reincarnation. If you see a tree trunk with multi-colored ribbons wrapped around it, that means a friend or relative came back as a tree and it shouldn’t be cut down. I’ve seen that before and wondered what it meant.
At the temples, there are statues of demons to protect the people from evil. I saw a lot of these demons at entryways. I think it means that the demons can go no further inside. Buddhists do not worship on Sundays like we do. They have holy days that revolve around full moons and even celebrate the Buddhist Lent.
This is my new understanding of Buddhism. I might not have all of my facts straight.
I felt completely and totally safe walking around the streets of Bangkok…Safer than I’ve ever felt in Chicago or NYC…Probably…well…because of karma. Even though the city was dirty and polluted, as most are, the people were amazing. Every single person I met was respectful of the community around them.
Now I did fear for my life on the streets that the motorists drove on (which is an entirely different story which I will address at a different time). It is only day 3.
I was impressed by how ornate the temples are. Look at all of the intricate detail. More demons..
This is a picture of us next to the Reclining Buddha which is over 150 feet long and about 40 feet high.
Here is a picture of some of the gifts given to the Reclining Buddha. (1,000 bahts are equivalent to about 30 US dollars).
That afternoon, Paul and I wanted to get a massage. Our tour guide arranged for us to get a massage in our room from two masseuses highly trained at the temple massage school at Wat Po. He told us it was proper to keep our clothes on. Paul and I each got a 2 hour massage for the total price of $40 per person including gratuity.
The massage itself was phenomenal and very interactive. At times they would sit on us and use their feet in the massage. We weren’t worried about the massage that we would be receiving because our tour guide set it up and the ladies were from the temple. We did hear a few cautionary tales about massage before we left home. It was not uncomfortable in any way. It was the best and longest massage we’ve ever received.
Later in the evening, we had a tour welcome dinner. We were told what was expected of us and were given a basic itinerary of what we would be doing.
I realized that I did not pack the right clothing. Most of the temple visits required pants. I did not pack any. Or we could wear a skirt or dress that came below the knees but nothing sleeveless. The only dress I packed was sleeveless. I only packed a couple of shirts with sleeves and the rest of the clothes I packed were shorts for the 90+ degree days.
That night we walked back to the night market to buy pants. Then I decided that I wanted to buy the red shawl after all. We wandered around the market for hours trying to find the shop with the red shawl. The market was huge. It was probably the size of 4 average Walmarts put together.
Just before the market closed we stopped in a shop inquiring about the red shawl and received the response that the red shawl sold after we left the night before. Instead I bought an emerald green cashmere shawl with green fur trim. It was the one that both Paul and I liked second best, a good compromise. We bought all of our souvenirs at the market that night as we were wandering around in circles.