Monday, 10 February 2014

Parading Monks at Dawn

A young monk collecting his alms
For the first time in a while our alarm went off at 5am and we eagerly got up to go and see the monks collecting their alms. We avoided the hawkers trying to sell us food to give to the monks as we’d read it can be dodgy and we’d already decided to be spectators and not directly participate. 

It was very peaceful to watch the lines of orange robed monks silently walk down the streets as the locals offered their gifts and monks gave their blessings. Mostly the food offered was rice, but there was a biscuit offered up here and there as well. We were disappointed when a busload of Japanese tourists rocked up and did exactly what we were trying not to do – got up and close and in the monks faces with their cameras while talking quite loudly to each other, it totally ruined the experience - not just for us but surely for the monks as well. Thankfully there are many streets so we moved on to a quieter place to enjoy the rest of the parade.

Filing past a beautiful Wat

Afterwards, we decided that since we were up we would check out the morning markets and it was a very nice stroll along the Mekong. It is always rewarding waking up early and seeing a town wake up, especially before the heat kicks in. The markets themselves were colourful with many interesting foods on display. We tried some sticky rice with a strange, sweet, gelatinous topping but we were quite content just to gawk at the rest of the produce on display.

It was only 7am by the time we’d made our way through the markets and with not much else planned for the day we decided to go back to bed for a bit. We managed to sleep till 10 and then enjoyed a late breakfast at the Art House Café before deciding on a massage as Dave had slept on his neck funny and it was quite sore. Unfortunately the place we chose turned out not to be very good as we were squashed, pummeled and scratched and came out in more pain than when we went in, with bruises and rashes from where they’d rubbed our skin so hard!

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