We got up this morning, had breakfast, and caught a motorbike taxi to the bus station. We were actually walking there ourselves when we came across an older man who offered us a ride as we walked past his house. He was a funny little man with a great big friendly smile so we couldn’t help but accept his offer.
As we walked up, we saw his back was covered in a large tattoo written In the Thai alphabet, so while it was illegible to me, it was very detailed and very beautiful. Christine informed me that she’d seen the same design before and that it was a spell of protection that the monks do. Sadly, I did not get a picture, but the idea is fascinating to me.
Thailand is one of the most populous Buddhist countries in the world, and it has greatly changed a lot of my outlook on Buddhist culture. I suspect and hope that I may be misinterpreting things, but at first glance, there seems to be a lot of materialism and superstition around it here, which was not at all what I had understood from the beliefs previously. I also, in general, know very little about Thai Buddhism and how it varies from other forms. This is something I plan to research further when I return to having a regular Internet connection.
I have noticed that meat is very popular over here, but beef is almost nonexistent. This fascinates me because my perception was that spiritual Buddhists are often vegetarian. As such, I would have suspected to see a lot less meat as a whole. But the no beef thing, one would guess to be influenced by Hindu beliefs? One thing I’ve seen for sure is a friendly, laid-back culture of lovingkindness here. I definitely need to read more before I go on talking about this. Otherwise, I’m sure to make myself sound ignorant.
We are headed now to Ayutthaya, which used to be the capital of Thailand before Bangkok. We’ll be meeting up with some of Christine’s friends from her job over here (note: I forget if I mentioned this but Christine is over here teaching English as a foreign language). She tells me it’s among her favorite places here. I’m excited all around.