Thursday, July 13, 2017

Alms with the Monks, Hiking with Karen Tribe, and Night Market with Thousands of People

Today's blog by Alec and Mom...

Early, early morning….we met our group in the lobby at 6:30AM and Mom and Ally were in long skirts with their shoulders covered.  We were driving into town to give alms to the monks who walk the streets from ~7AM-7:30AM to be fed and supplied by the people.  They do this twice a day.  We got out of our vans near a temple where many monks would be walking.  Along the streets were vendors who were selling alm “gift sets.”  It contained the following items and this would be order we presented it to the monks… rice, some sort of protein, dessert, milk, juice, water, and then on top of this bowl when he placed the lid on it we would place a bouquet of flowers.  Our guide Anon taught us the proper way to present things.  After presenting, in our bare feet on the street, we knelt in the street while he blessed us.  During the blessing Dad and I poured water from a small ceramic pitcher into a small bowl.  After we were done we would pour the water on the base of a tree returning it to the earth.  We did this one time for practice with Anon watching us…and then a second time on our own.  It was a very emotional experience.  Mom and Dad actually cried afterwards saying doing something like this so close to Dad’s step-grandmother’s death (she died while we were on our trip on July 6) it was all a bit overwhelming that morning.  Picture will come later as our guides took them so we could all concentrate.

Our Karen Tribe Guides
video

Back at the hotel the guides gave us time to pack and have breakfast then we were off to visit the Karen “long neck” hill tribe.   I liked breakfast here because they had donuts and hot chocolate. We pulled off the side of the freeway at the start of a trail and were met by a man and woman from their tribe.  You are not allowed to hike the trail without them.  We would walk with them for over a hour…along the way they shared with us many plants which are medicines as well…including one that cures malaria, citronella…also useful ones like cinnamon and one who’s leaves are used for sandpaper.  Beautiful terraced rice and coffee fields, flower greenhouses, and waterfalls were all along the way and we got to swim in one of them.  At the finish of our trip we enjoyed a traditional Thai picnic eating only with our hands…rice, chili, pickled vegatables, fruits, salted pork, etc..  And to top it all off Mom and Dad even let me have a cup of the local coffee which they had ground and steeped right there in front of us.
Hill Tribe chrysanthemum greenhouse
 
Enjoying local coffee under a coffee plant
Many beautiful waterfalls...it's the rainy season

After finishing we were all excited as we got an afternoon/evening off.  Back at our hotel we all hopped into the pool and had drinks.  Then that evening we went into the Wua Lai Night Market.  The biggest of all the markets they shut off numerous blocks of the street called Wua Lai.  We had the porters call a songthaew for us.  Song means two and thaew means bench…and this is exactly what it is in the back of a truck and covered.  When we got to the market it was really, really crowded.  We had to hold our parent’s hands all the time.  There were thousands of people on the street and the police kept announcing over the loud speaker to watch for pick pockets.  Mom and Dad steered us down a side street and Dad ordered egg fried rice and a spring roll for Ally and I and seafood pad thai for he and Mom.  As everything was cooked fresh we waited a long time for our food and then it took us a while to find a seat.  We also ordered fresh squeezed juices.  After we ate we went back out onto the street where I got a little owl with my name on it and Ally bargained for 5 anklets saving a whole 50 baht, or $1.50.  We again got a songthaew to take us back to our hotel, but because the traffic was so bad we paid extra 30 extra baht ($1) to go non-stop (meaning he wouldn’t pick-up any passengers) and express (meaning he would take the freeway).  Very tired and overwhelmed from the crowds we fell asleep quickly.  Tomorrow morning we were checking out and moving on.
Dining at the Night Market

2 comments:

Bonnie McKim said...
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Bonnie McKim said...

Ally, good bargaining! Well have to find a few yard sales for you to try your new skill. I think I would like the night market, the way you described it, Alec.. Hope to see your owl when I visit. If we get rain here today and rim, I will hike Buttermilk Falls Sat and think of you all. Love, Nana