Sunday, June 1, 2008

VFN Celebrates the Flower Festival

AA 075

This picture is completely unrelated to the blog post. I just wanted everyone to say hello to the adorable little lizard that shares our shower. To appreciate how tiny he is, compare his size to the size of the drain holes.

(Anybody who wants to complain about the bluriness of the photo, especially considering the high class quality of my sweet macro lens, can imagine themselves squatting in the shower of a Thai bathroom. It was a little uncomfortable. I also had to manual focus, and the little guy kept moving because I was scaring him.*)

*I actually have no idea if this lizard was a male or female. He just seemed boyish to me.

Colleen and I were lucky enough to be in Chiang Mai for the Flower Festival. It is a holiday honoring the Buddha. We went to the Wat (temple) in Chiang Mai that is at the very center of the city.

AA 139

These are the amazing people we spent the evening with. The girl in the orange shorts work for Boong, our travel agent. She and her friends took us to the festival and helped us understand what was happening and what we were supposed to do.

In addition to being super helpful, they were also very fun and friendly. It almost felt like they weren't being paid to hang out with us. :) (They all studied tourism in college, so that might have contributed to their excellent customer service.)

AA 093

(Please avoid any smarmy comments about how bad my hair looks or how sweaty my face is. I know. It is OUTRAGEOUSLY hot and humid here. My poor little Alaskan body can barely handle it. Thank you.)

Note to readers: please get used to the shirt in the above picture. I only brought three shirts on this trip, so you're going to be seeing it a lot.

Outside of the Wat, there were stalls lined up selling flowers, candles, birds, and other tokens. We bought a basket of goodies as our offering to the Buddha. The candles had our birth day written on them. Since I was born on Sunday, I got the Sunday candles. The ladies who sold us the goody buckets were very concerned that we get the right candles.

AA 083

(This is not the best picture. I'm sorry. Our guides said it was appropriate to take pictures, but I was trying to be mindful about the fact that these people were participating in a sacred ceremony. I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. I didn't want to be obviously about my picture taking because I didn't want to desecrate the experience for any of the local people.)

We took off our shows and took our goody buckets onto a platform where we kneeled down. Then we lit our candles, made a wai (that's the gesture with your hands in praying position), and said a prayer silently. The woman in the above picture is on the same platform and going through the same process.

We left the platform and placed our flowers on little stands that were all around the temple. We also rang lots of big bells for good luck.

AA 094

There were also smaller candle stands around the temple that people used to make offerings.

It was amazing. There were so many people there, and I really enjoyed watching them. I spent a lot of time standing at the side of the platform watching the locals make their offerings. A lot of incense was burning, so the air smelled really good. The temple was beautifully lit up. The flowers were gorgeous. It was a wonderland for all of my senses.

I've read about Buddhist festivals and ceremonies and watched some on YouTube and National Geographic, but it was a new understanding to be able to participate.


Anonymous said...

Well, you did make it, didn't you! You look quite happy (though somewhat wet) in your stripped shirt. I thought it was really cute that you wanted to look like your father-in-law with suspenders. Oh wait, that is your handbag! Sorry, I didn't have my glasses on. I am going to have to say, I told you so, though. Remember, I said there would be horrific bugs and creatures in your rooms. That little lizard might look small now, but they grow very big I'm told. And, you'll probably find one IN BED with you tonight. Just don't forget I told you so. AND.........
have fun. Love ya' bunches--Mom 2

Super Angie said...

Mom Alston, thank you for your comment. However, I am disappointed by the fact that you failed to heed my request about avoiding smarmy comments about my sweaty appearance. I will have to return the favor by making fun of your appearance when I get home. :)

Also, thanks for the supreme compliment about trying to look like my father-in-law

For the record, I don't remember you warning me about creatures in my room. You warned me about a million other things... Also, that adorable lizard is hardly horrific. :)

mackey family said...

Very informative. And I like how you are so calm about having a lizard in your shower. :)

Mark & Bek said...

So, my husband thinks your life is very exciting and wants to check your blog all the time to see what you guys are up to and what Alaska is like? Funny huh? I mean, your life is very exciting, but I think it's funny because he has never met you. I must say I am a little jealous of all your travel.

Anonymous said...

whats so bad about a doesn't look harmful to me I mean besides the fact that is barely larger then a drain hole.
Anyway, looks like your having alot of fun Angie!!!
love you lots and stay safe

Jilene said...

Angie--so it's been forever since I saw you last! (At BYU-I, I think.) I ran into Nicole here in Arizona several months back (crazy too) & was checking out her blog and came upon yours. It was so fun to see what fun things you have been up to, and by the way, I think I worked with your husband at the BYU-I Game Room/Lost & Found. Small world. :) I hope you are doing well & hope you don't mind if I put a link to your blog on mine. So great to find you through a blog!

Dan and Katherine Miller said...

I miss your posts! :o) Hope you are having a TON of FUN!

Dorese said...

Ok, so I didn't realize I never said anything about this post, but I read it, like, when you first wrote it. And I'm so jealous of your awesome trip! Way to take charge and see the world! :D

Now, to get on to more pressing matters, my FAVORITE memory of you, though there are certainly many to choose from, would have to be one night when I was staying the night with Mandy... we had just made an enormous seven-mix cake, eaten an entire rotisiere chicken, and were beginning phase one of our amazing diet and workout to get ready for Freshman Dance. We were "working out" to this ridiculous video in the living room, when we realized someone was TPing your house. It was your friends, so we went up to wake you up, and you were half asleep and CRAZY! You even had cucumbers on your eyes! :) Anyway, I hope I didn't embarass you, but I wanted to say that I loved the Third Ward Band at camp, too, but will always remember you with cucumbers on your eyes.

Dorese said...

I don't know if you participate in these sorts of things, but I've tagged you on my blog. :D Check it out for instructions!

mackey family said...

Where are you? I want updates!