Today, we had a beautiful late afternoon. As we left class, the sky was bright blue and the sun was shining down on us. I talked with some friends about our weekend plans and visited Wat Nai Harn on my own. (Wat means temple in Thai. And yes, I know you know that, Nick.) It is the temple I took a few pictures of during the evening when the lights make it glow. I have wanted to visit it for a while, especially as it is right across from our hotel, so I could walk for 3 minutes and be there. My friend Bon said hi to me on the way back from there.
Wat Nai Harn
Depictions were all over the wall.
Statues in the middle
Giant statue of monk
Vanity picture of me covering the monk on accident
It is a simple but pretty temple; I saw some homes inside, a lot of dogs guarding their territory, and monks; I tried to do the correct wai to them. I know my feet aren’t supposed to face them either, so I tried to walk diagonally toward them, as in with my toes facing anywhere but toward them. I probably looked really strange and crooked lol.
Sidenote: The wai is the bow you do to people, in terms of respect and greeting.
For the Buddha and monks, you show the highest respect. You clasp your hands together in a lotus shape, where your fingers match each other, but your thumbs are almost resting on top of your clasped fingers. You then bow and your thumbs should end up touching the area between your eyebrows.
For your bosses, teachers, and parents (I believe), you do the same with your hands, except when you bow, your thumbs touch your nose area. (If you are unsure of which wai to do, this is the one you should do.)
For people your age, students, and other informal relationships, you keep your hands clasped by your chest area and then bow your head toward that. (Nick, please check these.)
After the temple, I saw my friends at the big swimming pool. We decided to head to the Big Buddha to watch the sunset. However, as we were riding our motorbikes, gray clouds blocked the sun and it began to rain a little. Because we were traveling at a fast speed without anything to protect us besides our helmets, the rain felt like hail. Ouch! My friend said that it felt like many tiny icy daggers.
Instead of going to the Big Buddha (which I was really prepared for!), we instead headed toward Phuket Town for a change of scenery. It was a bit far, and traffic was heavy because of construction. Coincidentally, I saw two of my other friends driving to the giant Tesco (Target-like institution) as we were turning. It was really amazing--what a small world! We left them behind though, as we headed into the downtown area.
We finally parked our bikes, and I hobbled around for a few minutes because I had been sitting tensely for so long. We explored, bought some extremely fried sweets, and my friends sat down to share some beers. I decided to give them some alone time and actually walked by myself about a block. I bought some egg-and-custard type of sweets for only 20 baht ($0.67), which were not too sweet, so I enjoyed them.
My friend and his fiancee (although they're both my
friends) trying a sweet potato puff pastry
An exhausted doggy in a restaurant
Me with an egg type of pastry with gross helmet hair
(thus the vanity picture from before)
I walked back to my friends, and a taxi driver asked me where I was from, if I was a Thai person, and told me I looked nice. Thanks, kind taxi driver. But yeah, I’m sure I look beautiful with my sweaty face, my helmet hair, and my mosquito-bite-polka-dotted legs.
Ooh, so my friends and I walked into this brightly-lit, open-air restaurant because I saw that they had pad thai available when I wandered off. (Remember my story about how I ordered pad thai and wasn’t able to get it? This was my chance!) My friend ordered a pad ka pao (I completely butchered that, I know. It’s a meat dish with rice.), which was TINY, so he was extremely upset. It was only probably enough to feed a young child. He even showed his disgust to our waitress.
His fiancee ordered a noodle soup with chicken, which turned out to be a simple chicken noodle soup dish. My friend finished his dish, but was unsatisfied. His fiancee finished only half of hers. As they were eating, they brought out my pad thai, which had chicken instead of seafood, which is what I ordered. I didn’t even notice, but my friends noticed and were REALLY upset as they told me not to touch it. I was actually very surprised at how upset they were, and I could see their anger and frustration etched all over their faces.
Sidenote: In Thailand, each dish comes out very freshly cooked, so they bring out the plates one by one, instead of waiting, like in America, until all the food is ready to bring it altogether.
We tried to signal the waitresses, and one, who clearly saw us, stood up. But instead of coming to serve us, even when my friends were shouting, “EXCUSE ME,” she just walked into the kitchen. The other waitress that had originally served us finally and SLOWLY came to us and asked what was wrong. When we explained, she told me she gave my dish to a different customer, so I had his. She offered to allow me to pay the chicken pad thai price (45 baht), which was the meal I had in front of me. I was about to agree, but my friends said no, made her take it away to make me a seafood one, and also demanded for her to bring water cups. (We had told her when she first took our order that we wanted water, but she never brought us our cups. The pitcher of water had always been on the table.)
She brought the water cups, we drank about half, and then my friends decided to throw down 100 baht (they at least paid for what they ate). Then, we walked out. I feel like I have never done that before, so I was really nervous and glanced back at the waitress, who had hurried to our table to make sure we paid. My friends said that they hoped the restaurant was a little punished by making my seafood pad thai dish and not being paid for it because the service was so awful. The waitresses were really rude, and I had actually been afraid that they would spit in my food, so I am kind of glad we left when we did. My friends told me later that they would have paid full price and let me eat if the waitress had only just apologized or tried to right the wrong without making it so difficult.
Also, guess what? I just realized I was stopped from eating pad thai again! LOL
The pad thai I was not destined to eat :(
Anyway, remember how I mentioned in my random thoughts that the Vegetarian Festival would be coming soon? As we walked away into some other streets, I saw a Chinese temple preparing for it! I also saw some nice Guanyin and Fuk Luk Suw statues for sale. (Don’t worry, I didn’t buy them, Mommy.) It reminded me of home, and I was so excited and proud to be in that area. I just wish I could have heard some Chinese to help me feel more comfortable and more at home. :(
People sticking gold flakes for good luck
Symbol of fortune and luck (it was very sticky)
Walking down the street, away from the temple
We finally headed home, and it was a much smoother and faster ride back home. I was getting whiplash from my helmet. In fact, I might even have a hickey from the helmet. Sorry, Nick :P
Oh, last thing that should have been somewhere up there:
TRAFFIC WAS HORRIBLE, did I forget to complain about that??? It was like Chicago, when bikes need to squeeze between cars and sidewalks... and weave between cars. I was scared and my friend said it was the absolute worst traffic he’s ever been through with a bike, so at least that’s the worst of it... for now. I even rode on a sidewalk with my motorbike for a minute and I was TERRIFIED when I was trying to merge back with the other motorbikes on the road. Thankfully, I was safe. *Knock on wood*
I’m still waiting for the Big Buddha trip! Hopefully it’ll be tomorrow!!!
Me with my motorbike key and helmet -->