Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today - Buddha Day

Ten years ago today my husband and I were sitting in an internet cafe in Katmandu sending out some emails and planning our trek in the Himalayas. At the end of that trek we would be engaged. I will have also lost my inhaler and gotten kicked by a horse and Mr. Rosen will have thrown up more than a dozen times from altitude sickness. Pussy. But on this day we were still reeling from our three weeks in Thailand and happy to be in the cooler, dryer climate of Nepal. Here's a snippet from the email I wrote on May 31, 2001.

We took the night train back to Bangkok where we saw the golden Buddha - a huge, five ton, solid gold Buddha. Just about the shiniest thing I have ever seen. As it was our last day in the the city we attempted to see the 49 meter lounging Buddha too but when we arrived we were told it was Buddha Day and that there was a ceremony so we couldn't go in. Buddha Day? Then a guy told us that could take a tuk tuk ride and see the sitting Buddha and the lucky Buddha and the standing Buddha and then the export shop for only 20 baht. Unusually cheap. Why? Buddha Day. Good for Tourists. Buy jewelry.
We figured we were being set up for a scam and that Mr. Rosen might end up dressed as a woman in a tranny show if things got ugly. Bangkok has a scary underbelly. So we left. Then we asked another guy who also said it was Buddha Day and offered to drive us around. The export shop was having a promotion for tourists to buy things tax free. You buy, okay. You no buy, okay. So we figured what the hell and jumped in the tuk tuk.

We see one Buddha and then another and then another and then the guy takes us to this jewelry shop. We walk in looking like big sweaty shlumps having just inhaled five kilometers worth of exhaust from the vehicle in front of us exhaust while everyone else appears refined in their suits and bad toupees. They must have taken cars. It's obvious we're not going to buy anything so we find our way to the exit. The driver is annoyed and says we have to stay longer than ten minutes so that he can get his petrol coupon. Stupid foreigners. We understand. Buddha Day.

So we go to another place and Mr. Rosen and I start trying on rings like idiots and the owner is annoyed because his masterful powers of deduction have led him to believe we have no intention of buying anything and that we're just there for the coupon. But we hang out for ten minutes and the driver gets his coupon. What a funny day. Buddhas, coupons, toupees, precious stones. Time to cool down with a banana shake.

Anyone remember what you were doing ten years ago today? Celebrating Buddha Day in Thailand? Do share.


~Valentina~ said...

Funny story! My brother is in Thailand this week, I'll ask him if he is getting some jewerly today;) BTW, Buddha Day it's not in May?

Anonymous said...

Hilarious matter what day Buddha Day is!


AG Ambroult said...

the day exactly, I couldn't say, but right around this time ten years ago I had quit my nightmare graphic design job on short notice and was going to try to make a living as as artist. painter, to be exact. heh.

I love your story. Happy Buddha day to you!

Leaves and Feathers said...

Awesome story, loved it!! Ten years ago I was painting my heart out in my MFA program in painting at Parsons, and I was about to go on my first date with my husband!