Monday, March 3, 2014

Krabi Town: Lively Town, Lovely People

3 March 2014

That's Krabi Town's motto:  Lively Town, Lovely People.  We enjoyed another night or two of the lively Love & Jazz Festival, and met more of the lovely people of Krabi.

Our favourite person, I think, might be the young man who drives a pickup truck and seems to live half a block up from our hotel on Maharat Road.  We don't know his name, but the first night we headed to the Jazz Festival, he backed up to the corner and offered us a ride to town.  We gave him some money for gas, and received a huge smile from his little girl.  The next night, he came around the corner again, minus the family, and gave us a ride to town - we sat in the bed of the pickup amongst the hands of bananas and a huge bag of papayas, and he drove to find a friend who could translate where we wanted to go.  Our new friend refused any gas money, and happily drove us around the jazz crowd and one-way streets to find the restaurant we wanted.  LOVELY person!!! 

Then there's the adorable little girl, maybe age 8 or 10, who lives up the road and works with her family in their restaurant.  (Her family makes the best chicken with hot basil and chilis that I've had here!)  This child always tells me hello, whether she's working, playing, or shopping in the nearby Seven-Eleven - she always has a shy smile as she says hello (even when it's the third hello in ten minutes).  Just a friendly child who is one of our Krabi neighbours.

Another lovely person is my pharmacist, who is acting like my personal doctor and checks my toes periodically.  She's right, I need to stay out of the water for a while - even though the infection is cleared up, the blisters create little dry splits and can easily get infected again.  So I'm staying on dry land and avoiding contact with water.  (Although I'm getting tired after 3 weeks of showering with plastic bags on my foot.)

As planned, I visited the temple right in Krabi Town.  This temple is named Wat Kaewkorawaram - Wat meaning "temple" and I not only don't know what the second word means, I don't know how to pronounce it.

It's a beautiful temple.  It was built within the last ten years or so, although there may have been another temple on this site, perhaps several hundred years old.  I'm not sure, there were information panels which of course were all it Thai.  But the photos showed an archaeological dig with ancient walls being unearthed; I'm just not sure if they were found at this site or not.

At any rate, this is a lovely white temple on top of a hill right in Krabi, just off the main part of Maharat Road downtown, and a block or two south of the Cro-Magnon man intersection.

Others have likened this little ornate white temple as looking like a wedding cake perched on the hill and guarded by the golden dragons that snake along the switchback staircase that zigzags up the hill.  I personally think it looks more like a Thai version of the Parthenon, adorning its own little Acropolis.  

It definitely is a frothy little confection, almost like whipped cream with little ornamental peaks and flourishes, with more dragon heads instead of gargoyles, and little added embellishments of gold and red.  

Toss in a row of rock balls adorned with gold leaf fluttering in the breeze - it looks like maybe people donate money and get some of the golden squares, then stick them onto the rocks.  Good luck?  Prosperity?  Something like that.  I'd love to see these balls in another ten or twenty years!

Add a rock garden - okay, a boulder garden - with a few statues.  Like, a friendly tiger eying the elephants below.  And a pool of koi.

I've always liked temples, mosques, churches, synagogues, whatever religion's houses of worship.  There's the beautiful architecture, art, sculpture, and accoutrements that are used to express the people's reverence and adoration of the deities.  But there's also a sense of peace in these places, a quietness away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Places of worship really are sanctuaries from the busyness of our lives, and I've always enjoyed that quiet, that peace.  Some places may seem filled with a spiritual calm, others with an awe for the history accumulated within the walls.  Still others house masterpieces by artists that are revered themselves.  So yes, I visit churches, cathedrals, temples, shrines, mosques, synagogues, and all with equal parts respect and inquisitiveness.

Part of that respect for the site meant I didn't enter the temple because my shoulders and knees were bare - I was wearing a sundress because we're having nearly 100 F (33-37 C) days.  I stood in the doorway and could see that the main room was painted pale blue with red decorations, and a huge golden Buddha was sitting up front.    Beautiful, but someone was praying?  Meditating?  I'm not sure what Thai Buddhists do, or what they would call it.  Anyway, it seems rude and disrespectful to take photos from the doorway when someone is mid-worship or mid-meditation.  So I admired from a distance.  And moved on.

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