This was originally posted on 2012-08-27 after spending a short while with our first host family. Additional commentary has been placed in [square brackets].
On Sunday we went to some Buddhist temples in Uthai Thani. Before entering the first temple we took our shoes off (everyone wears slip on shoes in Thailand) then prayed before the Buddha statue. In front of the statue was a tub full of numbered sticks which we shook side to side until one came to the top and fell out on the floor. We then went to the back of the room and pulled a sheet of paper out the box with the number of the stick on it. Apparently my fortune was a good one, something about being able to take hold of whatever I want, but it was all written in Thai so I can only tell you what I was told!
Once we were back outside we put our shoes back on and bought a drink from a stall which we were given in a plastic bag full of ice. At first I was fairly ambivalent towards my bag of sprite but it wasn't long before I was grateful for its refreshing, portable squidgy-ness. Sure a bottle is resealable but when its 33 degrees and your climbing up a huge marble staircase set into a mountain you're going to get through it pretty quickly.
At the top of the staircase we found another temple. but this one was much larger. The whole place was bathed in sunlight, monks strolling around, people (including me!) were banging huge bronze bells and throwing coins at the gold covered footprint of the Buddha.
[ The massive white stairs up the mountain, seeing a real Buddhist temple. The gold, the sun, the monks in their orange robes, seeing something completely different to anything I had seen before and realising that to them it was totally normal? It was a really amazing day. Also on reflection the staircase was probably concrete but it had marble *vibes*. ]