Definately feeling better. So a longer post.
We need some basic Thai urgently. Normally we go to Google translate, key in a few words and away we go. Not so easy with Thai. Neither the written form or the phonetic is helpful, so we have to use the little speaker icon, listen to it a few times, write it down. Some examples. ‘Hello’ is sawa deee
This one, the most important of all, is really tricky. ‘Thank you’ is cop koon kaaap. Doing this well is fun because the Thais don’t seem to expect it so much out here in the country, so in response they place their hands in a praying position, bow and slowly say kaaaaa. If you say it in front of several people they all slowly say kaaaaa and the effect is strong. I’m not sure if I should but I slowly bow back. This all takes awhile and is really nice. It’s not long out of Bangkok that thing’s take a turn for the different
Phitsanulok sees few white people. It’s a few hundred miles from either Bangkok or Chiang Mai and on the plains. In 4 days, maybe 100,000 people, I saw one old man who may have been white, and just before I left a middle-aged man with a Thai wife his own age. He looked like he’d been here for decades. I spoke to neither. We appreciated being culturally alone here in the throngs of a big chaotic festival. It does remind us of rule #56 of round the world riding: non-whites are twice as observant as whites, so there’s no melting into the crowds, lol.
Two things were going on. Firstly a huge regatta, although they don’t call it that. It’s one of the two biggest long boat festivals in Thailand. It happens on this weekend every year on the river Nan and attracts the best rowers from 13 Thai provinces. Rowing is extremely important to Thais and they’ve been racing boats for 600 years. It’s been the principal test of whether young Thai men have the strength, courage and endurance, and are ready to defend their country in war. Awesome, no better reason to row. Go Shawnigan!
When monks cross the street, police or event organizers stop foot traffic. As you can see here they’re a cheerful bunch, always having a good time. They pull themselves together in the temples, but still have a big smile when you go sawa deee
A Royal Barge offloaded about 50 dignitaries. If you look carefully at the fan on the left of the picture, you’ll notice it’s condensing the humid air and appears to be blowing smoke. It’s also blowing small water droplets and will be in a pool of water. That’s how hot and humid it is here
Here’s the badass boat from Pichit below, in blue. They’re feared and (as this story goes) the men most ready to defend Thailand. It’s very difficult getting a head count because sometimes they’re two abreast, sometimes staggered, and at the ends single file. But in my best pics I counted 54 in the biggest boat, including the potato at the back
A lady had just ordered a bag of these, had poured some hot sauce and was eating them a couple at a time with a wooden skewer, looking fine about it. They’re grubs and not so bad despite being about 50% soft guts. I have video of me hoovering them. Well, very very slowly hoovering one at a time with breaks
The second thing in Phitsanulok, and the most important is the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat in Wat Yai. Wat, from the Sanskrit vata, means monastery/temple.
King Li Thai in the 14th century commissioned sculptors and priests to cast the Chinnarat Buddha, now the second most important Buddha in Thailand. We’ve heard it’s breathtaking.
And the one shot of the Buddha didn’t work out. Let’s hope we don’t have a similar problem with the Chinnarat Buddha. You have to be on the floor to take photographs in the main hall. The one english instruction I’ve seen in 4 days. Plus there’s a diagram of clothes you mustn’t wear