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Sunday 18 May 2003
Sukhothai, Thailand

Phitsanulok and Wat Ta Ket

Headed out to Phitsanulok today 61 km away from Sukhothai because Id read that there were some famous parks there... easy ride .. or so I thought!!!! I spent most of the day getting there... saw a waterfall which was nothing spectacular (only about 3 metres high!) but was too tired after the ride to start searching for National Parks!! *groan*

Anyway, the ride there was fun and I got a LOT of fresh air!
... and fresh insects flying in my face.. mmm delicious!

On the way back from Phitsanulok I decided to stop off at Wat Ta Ket... this place is WAAAAY off the tourist track (took me the good part of 3 hours to find including searching yesterday and today on the bike). This temple is famous for its numerous life-size statues depicting human suffering in hell Buddhist-style! About 100 statues in all. The statues were all carved by one monk who started the project after he had a dream instructing him to do so... essentially what we see are characters from his dreams.

Approaching the temple (down a very unassuming dusty road) I was greeted with an amazing-looking stupa that had little Buddhas lining the balcony of each floor. Behind this stupa lay the garden which was full of statues in various poses. One of my favourites has to be the 3 statues depicting what happens to people who drink heavily in this life: the victim is down on his knees with his tummy sliced open (leaving his entrails hanging out) while he is being force-fed a cup of boiling oil! Yeesh.. gimme robbery any day (basically means that you are cursed with big hands and feet... hmm maybe Im already living THAT version of hell!! i.e. trying to buy shoes my size here is my version of hell)

Some of the statues are really quite amazing in their attention to detail and some look very lifelike (the three ladies lying down, or the archer shooting the man out of the tree)...

On my way out of the temple I met a local Thai family who owned a shop nearby. Their 15 year old daughter, Boo, seemed eager to learn a little English from me so I went off and had a (sometimes frustrating) "chat" with them and they gave me free coke in return. I also learned a little more Thai (although they seemed perplexed at why I would want to ?!?) including the word for dog: Sun Lo

Heres a brief rundown of some of the Lao-Thai Ive learned (Laos and Thailand share essentially the same language)...

Piba - Crazy

Falang - Westerner

Thao Dai/Lai? - How much?

Sabaidee (kap) - Hello

Sabaidee ho - How are you?

La Kawn - Goodbye

Kop Koon Kap - Thank you (Thailand)

Kop Jai - Thank you (Laos)

Well that should be enough to get you by...

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