In Search of the Golden Child
The whistle blew.. Everyone got on the boat .. Everyone except Nikki ..
"Wait Shelly, take this picture with the water behind me please."
I'm not even sure how many poses she did but as soon as Marika and I looked up, the boat was taking off and Nikki and Shelly were still on the dock.. Looking stupid.
"Wait! Waiiitttt!!!", they both yelled. But it was over. We were in the water and the boat was not about to stop.
"Meet us at the place! Don't worry!" Nikki yelled to us and we nodded, as if to say, "Got it!"
It all seemed like a good plan until we realized, we had no idea where we were going. Marika and I didn't know the name of the the stop or the exact name of the temple we were going to see. We were so lost.
After about twenty minutes of riding the boat, watching people get off and on, feeling the mist of the river, and gazing at the bridge, we decided we had to do something. There was no way that we were going to be able to find the girls.
So we finally got off of the boat, just to get back on it to go in the opposite direction. At first, we were going to go home but then I said,
"Let's not waste the entire day. Let's venture off and see what's out here."
Marika obliged and we went into the city.
We were immediately overwhelmed by the amazing vendors!
There was so much to buy! But we couldn't stop. We had to find the golden Buddha.
We walked up the block to a beautiful park. We saw some Buddhas but we knew those weren't the ones. So we began asking for help.
None of the Thai natives understood a thing we were saying! Yet, we weren't frustrated, we just knew we couldn't give up.
I saw a young, cute white couple. I figured they spoke English and could help us out.
"Excuse me... Do you know where the big golden Buddha is?"
"No we're from London. We just got here. This is our first time outside of our hotel."
"Oh okay! We've been to London. We're from the states. Hey can I see your tattoo?"
"Sure.." She showed me her tat and I noticed a small Nazi sign in the middle of it..
"Wait. Is that a Nazi sign?!" I was a little appalled.
"No, it was originally a Buddha sign. The Nazi's took this from Buddhism to use as their propaganda."
"Oh wow.. Learn something new everyday. Well, have fun during the rest of your trip!"
And we walked away. We were pretty much over it by now. We were enjoying the park and about to just head back to our hostel to wait for the girls when we came across a tree. It was one of the most beautiful trees I had ever seen. I could tell it was old because it's roots were so high and strong. But I just couldn't figure out what type of tree it was.
I saw an older man who didn't look like a native at all.
"Sir, do you speak my language?"
"What language is that?"
"Yes I do."
He had a heavy accent. We were clearly interrupting his reading time. He had a big book about animals.
"Do you know what type of trees these are? They are beautiful.."
"No. Actually I don't know. I'm not from here. I'm from the Southern Hemisphere... Australia."
"I figured that from your accent. Well, thanks anyways."
"No problem. Where are you girls from?"
"Long way from home huh?"
"Yes.. We're on vacation but we have no idea where we are going. We're lost and we lost our friends. They were taking pictures and missed our boat. Now we're looking for the golden Buddha."
"Oh that's just down this way. I could tell you girls but you will probably get lost. I don't mind walking you there."
"Okay ... Let's go."
And we were off. Me, Meekz, and our Australian angel.
Before we left the park, I saw some crayons and coloring book under the trees. They were so lonely, I wondered why a child would just leave them there.
When I looked at the tree above the coloring book, I found a sign. That's when we found out that they were fig trees that had been planted hundreds of years ago.
The sun was behind the clouds for most of the day but it seemed like as soon as we got outside of the park, it began shining right on us.
We walked through the streets. Passing everyone from homeless people to hagglers.
People kept trying to talk to us but he shooed them away every time. The only time I was really interested was when we came across the loveliest handmade floral crowns. They were beautiful.
Finally, we got to Banglanpoo. We took off our shoes and wrapped our legs in long skirts that the priest provided us with. It was the Wabopanlapooh (I think I spelled it wrong) temple.
And guess what was inside? That's right! The big, golden Buddha.
Meekz and I were in awe. We prayed ... Not specifically to Buddha but just to the higher power that we believe in. The same power that allowed us to make it to that very place in that very moment. I was just so grateful.
As we were about to leave, young boys who seemed to be monks in training came to the temple and began chanting. It was amazing.
As a teacher, all I could think of was my students. Especially my boys. I love seeing young people take pride in something that means so much to them.
After we left the temple, we headed to the Grand Palace. We walked in the heat for about 2 miles. But because we were so excited, it did feel like it was long at all.
"Meekz look! Coconut water!" I screamed.
"We need one right now!" She said.
That was the best 30 bats (Thai money) that I had spent thus far. That coconut water was colder than ice and perfectly refreshing.
We carried them as we continued our journey to the Grand Palace. As we began approaching the gates, we were struck by ancient beauty.
All I kept saying to Meekz was how blessed we were. Although I kept getting interrupted by men calling Marika, Michelle Obama. It was hilarious.
After we saw the palace, we headed back to the boats. Where we finally asked our Australian angel for his name. It was Peter. Turns out, he was a professional animal photographer. That explains why he was reading the animal book.
It's crazy how we trusted this total stranger.. And even crazier how he really took us every where we needed to go. I will never stop saying this but we are really blessed.
As the sun set, we said our goodbyes and headed back toward our hostel. Before going to it, we went to the mall. Meekz and I didn't buy any clothes. Instead, we got Thai tea ice cream cones.
We walked about 3 blocks up to get back to our hostel as if we owned the streets. We ignored all of the hagglers and danced all over the sidewalks. There was a band playing live jazz in the middle of the block.
We danced all the way to our hostel's street, until finally, we looked up and there they were: Shelly and Nikki!! They got back to the room at the same exact time as us!
We were so excited to see them. We all ran upstairs to freshen up and exchange our stories about the adventures that we experienced during the day.
By the sound of it, they had just as much fun as us!
Even though our adventures were different, at that point, we all had one thing in common: We were hungraaaayyyy!!!
So we decided to get dressed and find some seafood. Long story short, it was ah-may-zinnngggg!!!
As you can see, it didn't last!
See you later!