It was Wednesday, Ordination final day, when the candidate finally puts on the orange robes.
After checking out of the hotel, we headed back to the temple, but everyone was hungry. So we stopped at the same restaurant in the bazaar, and I watched as my pirate did some cooking. I’m not a rice eater, especially in the morning, but I was served rice and chicken fried in shallots and baby garlic. Non has recognized that I need soy sauce with my rice and makes sure they provide it wherever we eat. You are not going to get it if you say ‘soy sauce’ in English, not here.
Did I mention that I did not see a single westerner during my 4-day trip?
The temple scene was a bit different from the previous day. Many people were dressed up in their best. Straw hats were everywhere; I would discover later they were bought at the bazaar (maybe $2-3 each) for head cover during the ceremony’s concluding parade. There were also plenty of umbrellas in the crowd to be used for shade during the parade, and many people were also brandishing hand fans.
Today, only the 14 candidates, and not the juvenile would-be monks, were in attendance, again with family. The band was present, but not the loud MC. There was still plenty of dancing and singing, however. And the music was still very loud.
Half of the candidates and their entourages ten filed out of the building,while our group had to wait in the hall for an hour and a half. Finally, we filed out of the building, joining two wheeled boom boxes and musicians. The group of maybe 200 then walked VERY SLOWLY across the grounds and to a temple building. Here they walked around the temple three times in a blazing sun, at 2 pm, the hottest time of the day.
Finally, mercifully, all the ‘loot’ each entourage was carrying was brought into the temple and then backets of small items were thrown to the crowd – very Marti Gras. The finely folded decorations of shiny paper contained small coins, meant to bring good luck, but I think the money inside was more important to those fighting for what was thrown.
After some tearful goodbyes to Sai, we headed south to Phitsanulok, but took a detour. We ended up at basically at a farm house where two old, old women were sitting on an elevated wooden stage. One turned out to be the paternal grandmother of Non’s children. She had taken me to her ex-husband’s house!
I had to figure all this out myself. The ex was there and I introduced myself, not knowing who he was.
A short trip to a local restaurant to order some food for the group for dinner, and another trip for beer and ice, and we had a dinner party. Most of the food was too spicy for me, but there was some fried chicken and marinated pork strips. With the little bit of Hong thong I had leftover from the previous night I was fine, just watching and listening
At this point, I still did not know where we were staying for the night. We finally stopped at a small motel north of Phitsanulok. Non’s son had picked it out and it was a pretty good selection. Big, clean rooms, big double bed, large flatscreen TV (no good for me as all the channels were Thai), and western-style bathroom (hot water, western toilet).
I set about compiling and posting my Tuesday newsletter, only 10 hours late this time. I also had roughly 300 photographs to reduce in size and cull, not to mention catching up with these descriptions.
Here are some shots of the ‘parade’:
And the tossing of the money: