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Monk Spotting

October 19, 2010

I love monks. Not literally, that’s gross, but I like to hang out in places where I might get to see or talk to monks. Monks are happy. They’re often bashful and sweet. Sometimes the ones who speak English want to practice. In a place like Cambodia where a huge portion of the economy is based on tourism, it’s refreshing to have a conversation with a local that’s not part of a commercial transaction. Monks don’t make me feel like a walking wallet. Plus, you just gotta love a guy in a bright yellow toga.

I usually don’t take pictures of the monks I chat with because that might spoil the moment. But I have taken a few. Here are some favorites.

monks at Banan Wat, near Battambang Cambodia

Notice the monk at right with the cell phone. He was using it to take pictures. Monks on cell phones are common in Cambodia and Tibet. I wonder if they get a special rate?

monk hitting bell near Kratie Cambodia

This monk was beating a bell that looks like (is?) a pipe fitting. It was so loud that I jumped and covered my ears the first few times he hit it. The banging was in accompaniment to another monk chanting in a nearby temple, on top of a mountain in a forest in the late afternoon.

monkbrella, Phnom Penh

October is a rainy month in Cambodia. Many monks carry sunny yellow umbrellas that match their robes. I don’t buy many souvenirs, preferring to travel light, but I am considering buying a monkbrella. Yellow really isn’t my color, but I think it would brighten a rainy day at home, and remind me of my monks.

In unrelated news: I’ve been on the road nearly 6 months, the halfway point of my trip! I will be in Vancouver in a few days to visit family and friends. Then in November I’ll be back in Washington DC to visit Ian in what my friend March has termed a “conjugal visit”.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa permalink
    October 19, 2010 11:39 am

    I think that yellow could be your color! At least for an umbrella. Maybe not a toga though.

  2. October 19, 2010 6:46 pm

    Yes you definately need one of those umbrella’s for rainy days. Love the pictures very
    unlifting. Can’t wait to see you at Whistler!!! Have a safe trip home !!!

    • October 20, 2010 4:28 am

      Thanks Lauren. Unfortunately I missed out on the umbrella – I left it to the last minute and couldn’t find one, though I’d seen them for sale before. My friend Elbie has some travel rules. One of them is “if you like it, buy it”. Because you never know when you’ll see it again. Should have bought it.

  3. Ian permalink
    October 20, 2010 4:09 pm

    I’m not so sure about “conjugal visit”. My girlfriend is not happy about it, and to be fair to her, you need to stay here for 45 days to recover your “wife” status.

    • October 21, 2010 10:30 am

      This is the first I’m hearing about a 45 day rule for “wife” status. So does that mean when I get back in April I can have a boyfriend for the first 45 days, and then I can’t have one after 45 days because I’m “wife” again?

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