Sawadii ka, everyone!
We left Twinhouse at 9:30 and had to drop other participants off at the train station for a different program. The drive there took about 5 hours in total but we had an "in-between-stop".
Lunch was served at a large restaurant near the waterfall and after that, we continued the ride to our accommodation for the next two days. Two hours before we arrived, it suddenly started to rain heavily. In Singburi we were used to rainfalls every few days but only in the evening and here it was only 2 o'clock. We tried to keep our luggage from getting completely wet but the cars are, as I've already mentioned in another post, not as water resistant as they should be.
I don't hate sharing a room but after 5 weeks with other people around me all the time, I really enjoyed having no roommates for once. I had my own schedule and didn't have to compromise with other girls when it comes to, for example, taking a shower.
After unpacking and writing a bit in my travel diary, Me, another coordinator, brought us to a view point. The streets on the mountain/hill are badly made and have holes in them every few metres so the drive was quite bumpy. We survived, though, and arrived at the view point.
Once again, seeing the forests in Thailand was amazing. They really reminded me of home because, when we're hiking in my region, it looks like that as well. There were even binoculars at the venue, which we even could see gaurs (Indian bisons) with.
TuesdayAfter breakfast we visited the temple, where we were going to stay from Wednesday to Friday, for the first time.
It was quite different from the temples we've seen in the culture week, for example, since it wasn't that fancy looking and had rather a simple design. The property was quite big, though, and had lots and lots of different buildings for different causes.
We got to see the breakfast hall, the chanting and meditation hall, the house where the master monk's staying and the little houses where participants live during their stay.
Our guide explained our program for the next three days and then took us back to the Forest View Resort.
We waited approximately an hour until the rain has stopped and went to said market. There the ground was extremely muddy from the rain but the locals weren't bothered at all so why should I've been?
There were lots of stands with raw fish and meat and it all reminded me of the reason why I don't want to eat meat here. The pieces were all laying around in the heat, without any covers for the flies and it all just smelled really bad.
One of the sellers noticed my "interest" and posed for me with a pigs head. Yum. Also, lots of the animals they were selling there were still alive. Even turtles, toads, eels and fish.
I walked the market up and down a few times and even bought one kilo of rambutans and a big cup of coconut water for only 1,50€ all together. Our coordinator gave me some lotus seeds to try and they were really good.
The taste kind of reminded me of edible chestnuts. On the way back we stopped at a few shops because the owner of the resort had to do a bulk purchase of food for us.
WednesdayToday we had to leave at 5:30am to go to the temple.
We first got to the breakfast hall where we just brought our big luggage to and then drove to a specific place on the streets where the monks get their breakfast everyday. There we got to have some hot chocolate and toast whilst waiting for the monks to arrive.
One monk started the ritual by blessing everyone. During that blessing we had to take off our shoes and kneel down. After he's finished we said "Sa tu" which basically it the buddhist version of "Amen".
We had to empty our plate by giving every monk one spoon of the rice. Other (thai) people, who were doing this program as well and also locals were there to give them self-made baked goods or store-bought juices and cakes.
Meditating was actually quite exhausting, especially for my back since I tried to sit up straight all the time, but sitting like that for an hour just hurts the whole body.
In the breakfast hall was a huge buffet where the monks could choose their breakfast at first and then all the other person who were living in the temple could follow.
We had free time from after breakfast to 4pm. In that time I moved into my room, which I had for myself, again. I expected the room to be quite uncomfortable but it was actually really nice.
The mattresses and pillows weren't that great but I've definitely seen and slept on worse. After I've unpacked, I took a much needed nap until 4 o'clock, when we got dinner at a large roadside restaurant.
At 7pm the master monk Gunha (we, for some reason, called him Lumpur) arrived at the building and the two boys, I was doing the buddhism week with, had the honor of washing his feet. I obviously couldn't because women aren't allowed to touch a monk but I was actually quite happy about it. Feet are gross.
There were already people who had some problems and therefore wanted to ask Lumpur for help.
First, Lumpur blessed everyone by hitting our heads with a bamboo stick and then threw special sweets, bananas and juice boxes at us. Apparently they give you Lumpurs energy if you consume them.
"Rule your mind, or it will rule you" -Buddha. Lumpur also mentioned, that he really likes Germans since they are really intelligent and always on time. He likes them much better than Americans or British. During that talk, the boys could massage his feet, which apparently was an honor as well.
One extremely special feature was, that the master monk was European! He doesn't have as much power and wisdom as Lumpur (Lumpur is one of the four most important monks in Thailand) but at least he is a master monk, right? We joined this temple at their morning session as well, but, thankfully, it only lasted about 20 minutes. During that session the master monk talked a lot with us about our countries of origin, told me about how much he loves Vienna and blessed us.
For breakfast I loaded my bowl with lots of food again, since this day, we weren't allowed to eat anything else after breakfast. Challenge excepted.
That didn't count as cheating, though, because it's a present from the master monk and one should never decline a present from the master monk, since it's blessed and therefore very special. He even gave us all an amulet with a picture of himself and a piece of his robe in it.
At 6 we served breakfast again and this time there was a charity event for the hospital, so many doctors were at the street, handing out food for the monks as well.
Since it's not everyday that there are white people in Thailand, let alone in a buddhist temple, they all wanted to talk to us and take pictures with us. On of the doctors told me, that he's already been to Vienna and Salzburg and that he loved both of these cities. #flattered 2.0
We had lunch in a food court hall thingy and Eek bought some sweet buns with a green coconut sauce and gave us some to try. They tasted delicious and if I wouldn't have been so full from lunch, I would've bought some myself.
SundayOn Sunday, Trunk to the south, the next weeks program, started.
After packing my remaining stuff, bringing a few things in the storage room and eating breakfast, we left Twinhouse again to go to our first stop, Bangkok. From there we took a minivan to the accommodation, I lived in in my first Hua Hin Beach Combi week.