On Sunday we were given a day of rest, which really just means that we took the opportunity to be complete tourists! We started off the day by going to the Wat Phra That Lampang Luang Temple. It was incredibly beautiful and we got to see people actually performing their prayer ceremonies. One building was off-limits to women – inside was a mirror image of the temple. It seems like an odd tradition to keep up, since the same mirror image was put into a neighboring building for everyone to see. In that same building we were all able to go and make a wish or prayer. Afterwards, you try to lift the elephant weight with your pinky finger. If you can lift it, your wish will come true, if not… well, such is life. When we tried to leave the temple, one of the other teachers and I were bombarded by Thai tourists who insisted on taking pictures with us! We had no idea who they were and they had no idea who we were, but that wasn’t going to stop them from getting a picture! They kept grabbing us by the arms and dragging us to various photo spots; When one group thanked us and moved on another group would converge on us, starting the process over again. It was an incredibly awkward, funny, and flattering situation, all at once!
When we finally made it back to the bus we continued on to the Lampang Elephant Conservation Center. We got to see an adorable elephant show (complete with watching elephants paint!), ride the elephants, and make paper from elephant dung! To clarify: the dung was washed 3 times and soaked in fabric softener first. That said, it was a little odd to do, but I still had fun doing it!
My Rookie Mistake:
I decided from the very beginning that I would be adventurous and open-minded when it came to the cuisine in Thailand. In a country that is known for having incredibly spicy food, I should have known that going into a menu blindly would be asking for trouble. However, when a seemingly harmless chicken dish was placed on our table last night I did not hesitate to dig in.
I didn’t recognize some of the vegetables in it, but they looked edible enough. One black vegetable looked like the one that another teacher had set off to the side a previous night, simply because it didn’t look tasty. I decided to try it. It was tough, and fibery and didn’t really have a taste, but I still swallowed it, not wanting to be rude. It wasn’t until a few seconds later that I started to feel like I was on fire! First my eyes started to water and I could taste the spiciness, and then I just started burning up – it hurt to breathe! My face turned bright red and I started sweating bullets. Other people at the table kept putting different foods on my plate to try to get rid of the taste, while I fought the urge to run outside the restaurant and jump into the fountain! It took a while, but I finally recovered and managed to get a picture of the culprit –
This is a mistake that will not be repeated anytime soon!