Day 5 - early morning
Temperature: 25 Celsius
Weather: cloudless blue sky
Half an hour after leaving the Bridge over River Kwai, we've arrived at our destination. By this time, my eyes were wide open and scrutinizing my surroundings. I just didn’t want to miss out on anything; the day's excitement was just beginning!
The sunrise was at its final stage; the fog had lifted and the sky had changed from a hazy color to a blue one. All of these being a perfect combination for another gorgeous day!
Upon getting out of the minivan, Sally directed us along an exterior man-made wood structure where many rectangular tables were installed one next to the other. In front of each one of us, a big round plate was placed containing many food items such as wrapped dessert cakes, soup, noodles and Thai food, all of these hot servings placed in small plastic bags tied with elastics!
We weren’t the only ones here. Several other people, around 12 in total were already here, all for the same reasons as us. We were all waiting for the procession of monks to pass in front of each and every one of us while we offer food to them, one of the oldest and most common rituals of Buddhism.
Apparently, monks still rely on people today in this day and age on receiving donations for their food, their only possessions being their robes and begging bowls. Interesting facts!
And then they were seen in the distance, all of them marching one behind the other towards us. They were all barefoot with their heads completely shaved, wore deep orange colored robes and held in their hands large metal bowls.
You’ll be interested in knowing that we were instructed beforehand on how to give the food offerings to them. Not an easy task let me tell you! We were told not to come in contact with their skin, no touching in other words! Not even their bowls. While holding the food offerings with both hands, we were instructed to deposit it in their large bowls and then do the "wai", the Thai greeting of a slight bow, with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that we had to be barefoot as well…..it would have been considered offensive to keep our shoes on. Good thing it wasn’t cold!
Well, I do believe I succeeded in going a great job at this. While Sally took pictures of us with my camera, I offered food to the monks without even coming in contact with their skin…… One thing was sure, it was quite an experience, a gratifying one and as fast as they arrived, they were all gone within a matter of minutes.
This was only the beginning…….Monique :-)