February 16th, 2008
Today, I set out on a bit of an expedition unlike the usually touristy stuff in Bangkok, to find a street famous for its production of alms bowls, known as monk bowl village. I thought I'd be able to find the forges where they are crafted, but I ended up only finding the shops that sell them. I also thought they would be nice gifts to bring back for friends, but they were a lot bigger than I imagined, and about twice as expensive. Another thing I didn't realize is that people generally don't buy these unless they are going to become monks, and need them for collecting their morning alms. The shop keeper reached into several stacks of folded cloths on a shelf and was either asking me what size or colour I wanted. I clued in that they were piles of monk's robes to go along with the bowl and it caused some confusion that I just wanted the bowl, well, actually, three of them!
It was my last night in Bangkok before returning to Korea, and the life I confuse with reality. May works the night shift at her hotel so after she got some sleep we met and headed by Kao San Rd. and headed to a little vendor by a canal that sold soup on the side on a long row of tables on the sidewalk. There was a big bowl of greens, none of which I could name, that you could pick from and break up into the soup, along with little meat balls and steamed chicken feet. I really liked these long green bean sort of greens that were nearly a foot in length.
After eating, we took a tuk-tuk into Chinatown and went into Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, busy with visitors for the Chinese New Year. We headed over to the large candles burning in the courtyard to light some incense and when I put my incense in the same flame as May's to light it, she said I shouldn't do that because it interferes with each other's karma, yet another thing I didn't learn in school!
After admiring the lanterns and the statues we headed into the core of Chinatown and enjoyed the street food and the atmosphere one last time.