How does a monk get fed? This morning we learned that the Buddhist monks can only eat food which they are given before midday. They depend on the charity of others to survive, so we took part in an alms-giving ceremony at 6:30am. As the monks lined up, the students approached them and solemnly placed items of food in their bowls, topping their offering with a lotus flower. They then kneeled before the monks and received a blessing.
After breakfast we readied ourselves for the most intensively hot day of our visit. Ayutthaya was the ancient capital of Siam, is located on a large island where the Chao Phraya meets two other rivers and houses the remains of some very significant temples, as well as a golden Buddha, the biggest indoor effigy in Thailand. It was an exhausting but rewarding day, students returning to the barge able to explain to us aspects of religious and cultural history.
Showering and packing was followed by a final barge dinner and an ice cream cake for Jag’s 19th birthday, before we rode in tuk tuks to Ayutthaya station. We now find ourselves preparing to sleep on the train as we travel northwards towards Chiang Mai.
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