Bangkok In Slow Motion: Temple Tangents
Where Was I?
In the previous post I mentioned how the Tuk Tuk driver took me around town only to return me at 3:30 right as the Grand Palace closed. Well this is what happened on that trip.
Since I was expertly deceived by the Tuk Tuk drivers I decided to make the most of the trip to wherever they were taking me. I mean I knew that they’d be taking me to some Wats (temples) but not sure about the in-between.
First Temple: Wat Saket
Was I lucky that there were no tourists here? Or was I the only one on a Tuk Tuk adventure? Either way, consider me elated that I was in a temple on my own. I wouldn’t say that I am Buddhist, but after reading The Zen Way to Martial Arts by Taisen Deshimaru, Zen and Buddhism have both formed strong values in my life. Being in solitude as I discovered the quiet halls was a humbling experience.
Entering the temple, I felt the air change. The energy shifted. I consider myself a spiritual person, not a religious one. Yet, whenever I am in the presence of something or someone that can only be there as a result of either, I cannot help but witness in awe to what people do for their beliefs. This whole thing was built on the beliefs it represents; beliefs that spanned over 2,500 years, and here I am.
I removed my shoes and sat in the centre, looking up at the image before me. I took this moment in.
Such eloquence, such opulence. It is no surprise that these temple are laden with gold and yet somehow I didn’t find it extravagant..
I got up and decided to look around and admire the attention to detail. I feel that if even one other local were here with me, I wouldn’t have dared to take out my camera.
Satisfied. I left the temple and back to my Tuk Tuk driver who was waiting for me (what a nice guy he was). Onto the next temple.
Are You Sure You Didn’t Mean The Tourist Information Center?
Yeah. Apparently the next temple “won’t be open for a while because the Monks are having their lunch” (I’m such an idiot) so he took me to the T.I.T. (or T.A.T. depends on what time of the day he’s telling you this story). Listen, if you ever find yourself in Bangkok and hear those letters, treat the guy like a 90’s drugs commercial and JUST SAY NO. Regardless, I was kind of in his hands since I didn’t really know where I was so I said fine let’s go.
Long story short: I went in, they asked me all about what I’m up to, where I want to go, etc. etc. Then they tried to sell me a package that will take care of all my travelling and tourist needs. Aw, you guys. You guys are great. Helping me when I didn’t even ask for it. So what’s the price for all this? What???–In DOLLARS?
I gotta go.
Or so I thought, but then I said to myself, “I might as well leverage these people to the best that I can”. I decided to ask them every possible question about every possible thing that I planned to do in Thailand. These guys should know, right? Ironically, they ended up answering all of my questions–obviously because they believed that I was about to spend enough money to erect the next Golden Buddha statue. Eventually they got the clue and started making excuses as to having to talk to other visitors. Yea. I thought you did. Rayyan wins and Rayyan is happy about it.
Let’s go Tuk Tuk!
Second Temple: Wat Intharawihan (Big Buddha)
Standing at 32 metres tall and taking over 60 years to build, Luang Pho To holds an alms bowl in his hand (slightly covered by the garment over him). Still practiced today, Monks go out early in the day with their bowl to receive food from generous locals.
To be honest, this temple is pretty small so it was a quick visit before I decided to move on to the next thing. The reclining Buddha, Wat Pho. I was really looking forward to it.
You Knew Where This Was Heading
My driver said that it was late in the day and he had to go home now (I constantly laugh to myself that he was actually so honest and straightforward) and that he would drop me back off at where we started instead of taking me to the other temples that I was promised. I honestly didn’t care anymore at that point and said alright. I would bask in my victory on the way back.
Tuk Tuk: 2