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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Day the Monk's Slept In

We were not sure if we would wake up early enough today to see the Monk's gather food offerings along the streets. But a combination of noisy roosters and dogs barking roused us at 5:30, so decided to stumble off to see this daily event. We had been told that the Monk's begin their daily rounds around 6:15 and we arrived on the street about 6 am and found a good place to watch. At first there were very few people on the street, except for some early bird tourists and some vendors offering to sell us food to give to the Monks. It seems this long standing religious procession has become a tourist venture. Quickly the street began to fill up with many tourists. The Thai tourists were the most organized and their guides arrived before them to line up kneeling mats and food offerings along the sidewalks which their tour groups sat when they arrived.

Tuk Tuks began to swoop in and deposit more people on the streets. It was now 6:50 and still no Monks. We figured they probably slept in, given so many were teenage boys. At 7am we finally saw our first Monk. At first there was a just a trickle of barefoot orange clad Monks walking down the street, but then their numbers increased and soon we saw hundred of young men in procession. They passed lines of local and tourists kneeling on the sidewalk who gave each Monk some rice or other offerings into rice pots that they carried.

Overall interesting time, but somewhat diminished by the touristy feel, which of course our presence also contributed. Now having breakfast along the Mekong River.

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