There were people chiseling, scraping, and worst of all, soldering in the factory.
It was an open-air factory, but there didn't seem to be any air — or protection from the copious dust.
We left the factory and headed across the street to Sergeant-Major Dr. Thawi-Pim Buranakhet's Folklore Museum. The museum looked small on the outside, but it went on endlessly on the inside. It held an amazing collection of folk-arts, crafts, basketry, pottery, textiles, toys, traps and ancient kitchen utensils. There were also agricultural implements and machines and an unbelievable assortment of household objects. The strangest thing was the fish room, where there were tanks and more tanks of fish found in Thailand. I hadn't expected that in a folk art museum, and was a bit dismayed to see the large fish in the small tanks. The museum wasn't air-conditioned and while I like heat, it tested my patience after a while.
The last place we visited was horrible. It was advertised as a Thai bird garden, but it was more like a bird prison, and I got out as fast as I could. I feel very powerless in a place like that where I want to free the birds, not look at them cooped up in barren cages.
In the later afternoon, our party of three was joined by the other members of our group, and we headed out to see another Buddhist temple, or wat. We arrived at the wat, got out of our car (it was actually a limo) and suddenly, after much discussion in Thai that Ken and I didn't comprehend, we got back in the limo and drove off. When we asked for clarification we were told we were going to a different wat first and would return to this one later. (We didn't return.)
We eventually found ourselves at a Chinese Buddhist temple, which we were told was run by a foundation that feeds the poor. They earn money through donations and by selling food products like rice noodles, dried bananas, and an interesting product consisting of dried tamarind pieces coated with salt that people eat as a snack. We were also told that all food prepared in the temple was totally vegetarian.
We spent quite a lot of time at the temple while various members of our group knelt before the Buddha praying, paying their respects and asking for their fortune to be revealed. You shake a container of sticks over and over until one stick falls out.
The numbers on the fallen stick are matched to numbers on small papers with fortunes, and the paper with the number that matches your stick reveals your fortune. I love the rattling sound the sticks make as they are shaken in the can.
The temple was presided over by an older Chinese couple who spoke no English, and only the woman spoke Thai. She insisted that she wanted to feed us and apparently wouldn't take "no" for an answer. She grabbed packages of noodles and headed to the kitchen. This was not a kitchen that would pass any sort of inspection, according to my husband, but I chose not to look too carefully. Why get myself upset.
A large pot of noodles with tofu, cabbage and maybe soy protein, was offered to us. We pulled rickety, mix-matched chairs up to a rickety table and enjoyed a delicious, light supper in a lovely place not too many tourists have probably been.
The noodles were just like something I might make at home only mine would probably have less oil. Oil sure does make things taste good, though, doesn't it? And the noodles themselves were far superior to what we usually have — perfect taste and texture.
From the patio, we could see the rice paddies below. Much rice is grown in the region. *
The last photo is of a Thai street dog, of which there are many. Someone told me the dogs like to hang around temples because they are likely to be fed there.I hope that's true.
In case you are interested in more about Thailand Thailand post #1
Thailand post #2
*A side note on rice-related health issues: By now you must have read about the arsenic (and cadmium) found in U.S. grown rice. The latest news is that rice grown in China, Taiwan, Thailand and Bhutan has tested very high for lead , posing a threat to people for whom rice is a major dietary component, but especially dangerous for children. Rice from Italy, Czech Republic and India also tested high, and other countries will probably be added as testing continues. When I say "rice" I mean all rice products such as grain, flour and noodles.
Boston — my heart aches for you.