Many years ago, the King wished to make a European style road. A straight, modern boulevard right to the palace. The clever Chinese and French purchased Thai Homesteads and when the King wanted to buy them to build his road they asked an exorbitant price. Instead, the King purchased properties around them and ended up with a twisted road that resembled a dragon. Thus the Dragon Tail Market, And Dragon Tail Temple. The temples used to be a place where all social activity and business took place. But, you cannot lie, so they removed the business from the temples. Hmmm! Sounds familiar. Buyer Beware! The Dragon Tail Temple was a very small affair. Later I will present a slide show of Temples and another of street scenes of interest and so on.
This bustling market had foods we could not recognize, but fascinating all the same. Panu said these are sweets.
This little boy eats his lunch while his parents ply their nearby wares, a tub of sticky rice cooked in banana leaves.
This woman is just removing a duck, with head intact from the fryer. They also have black skinned ducks here and bright pink eggs.
Motorcycles compete with human traffic in the narrow aisles, but no gets hurt or gets angry as we jostle for space to move.
We left the market for a stop at our first look inside of a temple, Wat Kaniga Phol, where you have to remove your shoes before crossing the threshold. It is a significant place because it was built and funded by prostitutes. At first, the Thai kept it a secret, (like most secrets are kept-hah,) then later they openly commended the idea that this temple was an inspiration to turn your life around and do good by your fellow man.
Wat Kaniga Phol has a replica of the famous Jade Buddha shown above. We'll see the real thing later in the trip. At this temple we also learn about a stupa, a conical shaped edifice that holds the ashes of the deceased.
In the market, Panu bought a selection of foods to carry to our next destination, Tai Hong Kong. It is a prayer day and we participate along with the Thais in this ritual at an outdoor shrine.
First, they make their food and flower offerings and place them on the shrine. They kneel or bow and make three wishes. Most remove their shoes.
Then we purchased six candles and six sticks of incense. Above Mason and Sheila Yavari can be seen lighting the candles from a firey vat of burning oil.
The candles are used to light the incense and are placed around the shrine in these sand pits.
You then pray that your wishes come true. The offering of food that Panu brought was receipted and entered in a book. Below, a Thai woman burns her receipt and places it in the tub. Its a sign of faith not to use your receipt for a tax deduction and to burn it instead. Make points with Buddha.
If a Thai misses work, or drinks too much and scolds his children, he makes atonement. He must make offerings in one day at nine different temples if the infraction is serious. And, not just any temple, the main temples. Below is the temple with the largest sitting Buddha, Temple Wat Sutat. This Buddha with canopy sits on an ornate, beautifully carved base 8 meters high and 6.25 meters wide. It was built in 1807 and is the oldest and largest cast bronze Buddha in Thailand. Story art work covers the walls. I'm guestimating the building is about 5 stories high. Thais throw coins into 108 pots around the perimeter of the temple and ring the bells for their atonement. Some make atonement once a year on a festival day.
The story walls are undergoing restoration. The entire temple is painted with these stories and are an amazing work of art as well as the edifice that holds the Buddha.
Our next stop on the way to another temple was the Buddha store. Most of these Bhudda are commissioned sales, but many smaller ones can be purchased by anyone passing by. They have a variety of Bhudda and statues of generals, or famous people, their Kings, elephants, and so on.
Here a workman with a steady hand scripts his recent masterpiece.
Wat is the Thai word for temple. Wat Po houses the famous reclining Buddha and if memory serves me he is 127 feet long. Tough to get a picture, the post cards do a better job. He is a fine figure and this is the oldest temple.,
After lunch we visit the home/museum of Jim Thompson, a man who fell in love with Thailand during WWII. He returned and opened a silk factory and revitalized the Thai silk industry and expanded it to international markets. He had several typical open style teakwood houses. Thompson took a trip to Malaysia and vanished. His body, nor any trace of him was ever found. His houses were all moved to this spot and are now a museum. No pictures were allowed inside but we were allowed to take a picture from the outside. The grounds were beautiful as well as the antiques inside.
After respite at our hotel, we attend the Puppet Theatre. A nearly lost traditional art revitalized by a man called Joe Louis. This puppet show has won several international awards.
The Puppet Theatre is also a dinner house. The puppets each require three handlers and they visited our table. Mason was obviously enjoying himself.
As was Simcha Saul above and Wendy Aisley below.
Flat Stanley also attended the show and sat on the knee of a puppet master with a puppet king.
The costuming was fabulous. The show itself was in Thai with English subtitles on very visible screens.