The Stories We Could Tell

Phetchabun

We had the rare opportunity to visit a rural farming village called Phetchabun. Most tourists don’t venture to this area, but my Dad has been all over Thailand and knew this would be a special place for us to see. The visit was definitely one of our favorite parts of the trip as it really gave us a true feel of rural life in Thailand. Many of the people in the village have dirt floors in their homes and basically live off what they harvest, but they couldn’t have been more generous to us. I think this is the place where we really fell in love with Thai people.

One of the most interesting things we got to do in Phetabun was to watch the entire process of making silk, literally from start to finish. We visited the silk farms where they raise the worms on Mulberry leaves. Next step is the boiling pot, where the worms are boiled out of their cocoons. No waste here – the silk is pulled off like string, and the worms are eaten (actually considered quite the delicacy in Thailand, we were stubborn and refused to try the wiggly guys). The silk strands are then thoroughly dried then dyed beautiful bright colors. Lastly, the silk threads are woven on looms into silk. Not only were we given a great tour, we also left with four huge pieces of beautiful silk fabric. Now we just have to decide what to make with them!!! Told you Thais were insanely generous.

In town, we visited the temple of a monk who apparently had a sweet spot for cock fighting. As with many other temples, locals visit to pray for good luck, happiness, wealth and health… but this temple was a little different. As offerings for the monk, people leave rooster statues as a tribute to his liking of cock fighting. Years and years of offerings have led to a football field size piece of land covered with roosters. It was unbelievable. And the temple itself felt like it would be better suited in Las Vegas. The metallic gold and silver roosters in the front had me looking for the nearest slot machine. No luck there, but maybe that does mean we will have great wealth coming to us?????

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January 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lopburi – aka Monkey Town

Welcome to Lopburi, a town run by monkeys. Seriously. They even have an honorary monkey mayor. There are so many monkeys running around here, it is amazing. They all tend to congregate around the temple Prang Sam Yot. Lucky for us, we happened to be in town on the day of the Lopburi Monkey Festival. Turns out the locals host a huge party for the monkeys every year in November. Thais, who believe donating food will bring them good fortune, gave the monkeys over 2,000 kilograms of food. Yikes. We saw monkeys drinking from personal milk bottles, feasting on all sorts of fruit, and even licking huge ice sculptures made sweet by various fruity flavorings. We had been warned that the monkeys in Lopburi were very aggressive and had no qualms about stealing your hat, purse, or whatever you may have in your hands at the moment. Fortunately for us, the monkeys we saw were too fat and happy to even notice that we were there.

The celebration was complimented by dance performances from some locals. Our favorite was their rendition of the monkey mating dance. Not only were they dressed in monkey suits, complete with disturbing monkey mask, but they even pulled my dad from the crowd to get him in on the action. He was a great sport until one of the “monkeys’ jumped on his back… not really his type of mating dance.

January 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment