• Tara B. Vasi

Day 2- Temples: Ruins and wedding cake

I went to bed around 7:30pm right after dinner the night before, so when 5am rolled around my body was ready to move again.

I started the day opening my eyes and having a good old fashion freak out. Where am I ?? What is going on? What day is it? Then, I chilled and I remember where I was, in Korat, Thailand on a yoga retreat and everything is beyond all right with me, so much that I didnt even care what day it was. (Now I realize its Sunday, October 6th)

My body was locked up and I knew yoga was the key, finding the harmony between the body and the breath, that special dance unifying them both. I practiced on my balcony for a half hour or so and then joined the group for breakfast at 6:30am. Breakfast was fried rice and fried and Tara approved.

We were on the bus heading out to the temples by 7am. The temples were a three hour bus ride away, after such a long journey the idea of this long trip made me cringe but it was a great opportunity to connect with the group and see the Thai landscape.

Nim taught us some Thai on our way there. I learned ‘Thank you’ in Thai is Kap pun kah. I was sitting in the back of the bus, but definitely heard that SOY could mean ‘You are Beautiful’ or ‘Bad Luck’ depending on what syllable you emphasized. I also learned that something that sounds like MY OW means, ‘I don’t want it’, and I saved that tidbit knowing I could need it for for the market later in the day. I don’t know how to spell it, but the Thai Lifestyle is referred to as Samai Samai or “chill”. It can also mean, ‘It’s all good’. Kinda like, IRIE in Jamaica. The Thai call white Americans Ferrang, like the Hispanics call the white people gringos. A ferrang is a fruit that is green on the outside and white on the inside. I was expecting the American comparison to be a bit more offensive, but from what I have gathered in the last few days, the Thai are incredibly kind people and being offensive is just not a part of their culture. I just thought everyone hated Americans. And everyone hated, at least some things.

Our first stop, Chaloem Phra Kiat.

They firmly suggested that we cover our shoulders and our knees to respect the dieties the temples were enacted for, oh and absolutely NO WRITING.

This took me a second to realize they meant no writing ON the temple, not IN the temple, haha like, just absolutely do not consider expressing yourselves or your deep thoughts via words with pen and paper.

We had to walk a ton of steps to get to the temple and it reminded me of the stair master from hell Mayan ruins I saw with WYMAN in Guatemala that time we went to Belize and that particular day was the day after my 25th birthday, so over ten years ago. There were no monkeys at this temple but plenty of stray dogs.

I saw one sweet angel drinking from one of the little ponds in front of the temple entrance and his bum bum was a big boo boo and I wanted to hug him and take care of his butt for him.

The temple was beautiful and old and the inside smelled like a combination of sweaty rocks, human urine, and dog urine.

It was over 90 degrees and lets just say you all are lucky I can’t take a picture of the smell. The temple was in very good condition for its age ( really old, like 1000 bc (I made that up)) and it seemed to mainly be the original structure with just a few upkeeps here and there because of erosion and probably some flooding and torrential weather.

Check out the bird flying through the door.

It is historic ruin, so definitely not actively used as a temple, but a site that is visited by many many people each day. There are statues dedicated to Ganesh and Lakshmi and then different reincarnations of those dieties from bulls to dragons.

We went to market and the store owners were not pushy or aggressive pressuring us to buy things, unlike any market I had ever been to, so I didnt have to whip out the “My Ow” I had fully loaded in my pocket. Mainly, I went around and smiled and bowed to everyone and said ‘Kap Pun Kah’ and they smiled back.

Standard Tara, I went right for the jewelry and had flowy pants on the brain. I found a bracelet that I loved that look like marbled jade met labradorite, so it was a bit green or tourquise and looked like it belonged right next to the necklace that I had wrapped like a bracelet already around my wrist. It was labeled 30 baht. I asked the lady if she would take 20baht and she said no. I asked again. She said no. Shit I really like this bracelet, but I put it down and walked away. Come on lady, now you chase me and take 20, play with me! I walked and she watched. It was sad. Then, for clarification, I asked one of the girls how much a baht to dollar was again and she reminded me that it was about 30 baht to a USD. Why am I even haggling? I felt so bad. I went back to bracelet lady, and said I am SO sorry about that horrible scene I just made back there, here is 30 baht and have a great day. (She spoke English) SMH DAMN FERRANG!

Also, I found flowy purple elephant pants that were obviously made specifically for me. Thats the end of that story.

A sweet little lady with nipples down to the sidewalk (I’m talking about a dog) came right up to me at the restaurant and sat by my feet. I could see fleas jumping all over her. Im pretty sure she was in love with me and it had nothing to do with the delicious lunch I was eating. (Of course I gave her some).

The second temple was more recently build and looked like a shiny white wedding cake with gold decoration. It was ran by buddhist monks who lived across the pond. The condition of the landscape and the structure itself was pristine and we watched as a group of monks rake the grass with super long fan like brooms, each man extremely focused on collecting leaved in their own space.

We were prompted to remove our shoes. It had just rained so the marble floors were slick and we all had to be extremely cautious as we walked the steps towards the temple. As soon as I stepped inside, I could feel the energy inside my being shift, and I am not even joking one bit, its like the powerful buddhist energy entered my being and immediately dissolved any dark sticky spots to allow the energy to flow seamlessly and completely. Inside there are dazzling crystal and gold chandeliers similar to what I would imagine in the great Gatsby and the lights reflected on the marble floor so it was like each chandelier sparkles twice.

Your body gets lighter and lighter with each step and its like any resistance gets pulled right out of you.

You can walk up to the second level where the temples heart beats and it gets more breathtaking and vibrantly GOLD. Buddha is the focal point here, oh course, he is there main man.

I had to sneak away for a few minutes to meditate. The only thing I can equate that same feeling to is when I walk into a crystal or gem store and feel this overwhelming surge of energy that sends my body into this mild pleasant panic attack mode.

We arrived back just in time for an hour long yoga practice and then dinner. Chicken, short ribs, sticky rice, cabbage slaw. For desert we had cantelope and condensed milk. I added sticky rice but many people added ICE. It was delicious. The night before for desert we had tapioca with coconut milk and coconut shavings. The tapioca was green which is apparently its natural state. We learned that tapioca comes from a root like yuca and made into balls to sell. They become soft and squishy like the kind you find in tapioca pudding or the popular bubble drink when you heat it up and stir in sugar.

We have such an incredible group. Each person is beautifully unique, on their own spiritual journey looking for their own truth. I love hearing their stories, hearing about their kids or the transition they are currently experience in their life. Everyone had such a great time at the market buying skirts and jewelry and souvineirs for their families.

I popped a ligament out of alightment in my lower back, probably a combination of sitting for one million hours and carrying a heavy backpack between layovers and in the customs line. Its all good though, there a masseuse/myofascial release expert that has been helping me put it back into place. Plus, with all the yoga and more massages tomorrow I am sure it will be the normal amount painful again soon.

I’m looking forward to insta coffee in the AM and my morning yoga practice on my balcony to start the day. The packet of insta coffee I like to use is called Super Rich and I’m like, French Vanilla Coffee creamer, who? #superrich #ferrang


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