Friday, November 10, 2006

WAT-ching THAILAND 2

On August 10-16 of 2003, Oyet informed me of an ongoing workshop series on integrating culture in community development planning organized by the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archeology and Fine Arts or SPAFA. I applied to join with a request for a scholarship and was accepted. During the workshop, we were billeted at the Royal Princess Hotel in the old Bangkok district near some significant Thai historical and cultural sites. This gave me the opportunity for another Thai visita iglesia.

A short walk from our hotel is Wat Sraket that is now popularly known for its Golden Mount. The temple was actually an ancient monastery built during the Ayudhya period and later renovated by King Rama I. Its Golden Mount (it looks like a mountain) was later built during the reigns of King Rama III and King Rama V. In 1877 and 1899, Buddha relics were interred in the temple. Also around the Wat Sraket area are the City Parapet Phrakan Fortress, the Democracy Monument, and Luha Prasat.


One morning, I rented the hotel limousine service to take me to the workshop venue at the SPAFA office. I asked the driver to pass by Wat Bejamabophit --- more popularly known as the Marble Temple --- where he took my picture. I was wearing a white Thai shirt which blended eerily with the early morning sun’s reflection on the temple’s marble slabs. That’s how “The Ghost of the Marble Temple” photo came to be.

And on one afternoon after the daily workshop grind, I asked an amiable Lao tuktuk driver to take me to Wat Arun --- arguably Thailand’s most beautiful Buddhist temple. He took me to a river crossing station but instead of riding the ferry, I decided to idle around a small restaurant and gazed at Wat Arun from a distance while nursing a bottle of cold Singha beer. I think this is the best way to enjoy the beauty of the temple and I stayed until the restaurant closed for the night.


I was in Bangkok again 3 months later to attend Social Watch’s Asia conference on December 3-6. I shared a room with a Bangladeshi participant who liked taking early morning walks. Our hotel is near the Erawan Shrine --- dedicated to the Hindu God Phra Phrom that was built along a busy intersection. I joined my roommate in one of his walking tours one morning and when we passed by the Erawan Shrine, I asked him to join me in doing a wai. He took my photo afterwards.

Oyet dropped by during the conference. He will be one of my youngest son Balong’s ninongs in his binyag later in the month. But he can’t make it so he took me to a mall where he bought his pakimkim. We had a dinner of grilled dalag after that as our impromptu binyag feast.

2 comments:

wilfredo pascual said...

your ghost in the marble temple is so funny! hey, any tip on moving from html to beta without the hassle of losing formats, links and icons?

Anonymous said...

That Erawan Temple is puzzling since it's smack in the middle of tall building, located at a very busy intersection (Rajdamri and the I-forget), and you wonder how it could still be a temple. Ah, well, I was just a passing traveller so what would I know...