Friday, 18 December 2009

The monk, the chocolate muffin, and cat who loved me

This post roughly sums up one of the most interesting and hilarious nights I have had on this trip.

As we arrived in Cha-am late in the afternoon, we skipped the beach and headed straight to the local wat. On arrival, we were greeted by an energetic monk called Thanayuth, who showed us to a small room where we could sleep and told us ‘I take care of you’. We were grateful to have a quiet place to rest and I was especially excited to get some cuddles from the little kitten in the room, which followed me everywhere.

Thanayuth was impressed that I could speak Thai, and when I told him that we had ridden here from Malaysia and Chris was riding around the world, he gathered all his monk friends and explained what the ‘farang on bikes’ were doing. He told us that he would love to come with us, but he can’t because he doesn’t have a bicycle. Monks in Thailand do not have much money and are only allowed to use things that are given freely to them, thus, he would only be able to go if someone gave him a bicycle.

Later, when we were laying out our blow-up mattresses, he knocked on the door and asked if he could sit with us. This was fine, but unexpected, as at most wats the monks usually steer clear of females. He started asking all sorts of questions about Chris’s bike ride, which I happily translated. Chris had started showing him some photos on his laptop when all of a sudden the monk jumped up and said ‘I must take care of you’.

A few minutes later Thanayuth was back with some snacks, which included some strong iced coffee, fresh cakes and a chocolate muffin, with jam on the inside! We were finding it hard to contain our excitement when he rushed out again and came back with a huge bunch of grapes (they are very expensive in Thailand!).

Chris started to talk to him about Buddhism but Thanayuth had other things in mind. He explained some theories (complete with actions and sound effects) that he had about global warming and natural disasters. At times we couldn’t help giggling as they were pretty far out ideas (or perhaps my translation was off), but we really enjoyed talking to him and found him quite fascinating.

After this extremely animated conversation, we were very tired so went quickly to sleep and I found myself with a cat on my head for most of the night.

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