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Thai Fruit/Vegetable Carving & Zen in Koh Samui

...an older entry that I forgot to post!

sunny 33 °C
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Mike and I took a Thai fruit and vegetable carving class at SITCA, the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts before we left Koh Samui. It’s a 3-class series, each session 3 hours long. The first lesson was carving a watermelon into a flower pattern. It was a little stressful because if you cut at the wrong angle, your petals will fall off! Our charismatic instructor, Thim, has incredibly strong and steady hands…she carved a turnip into a flower in about 5 minutes! Next was the cantaloupe flower, and the third day was veggie carvings, plate decorating and garnishes. What fun!!!

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As you can tell, we haven’t had much wind here on Samui. Also, the beach where we’re staying is pretty narrow, so it’s tough to launch/land the kites safely. I’m the proud owner of a new waist harness, and I’m chomping the bit to get a good run on it…it just doesn’t feel really safe here, and that’s intimidating. Maybe Koh Samet will have some broader beaches and steady, howling wind!

We’ve visited a couple different Wats since arriving here. The Wat Big Buddha is located at the northeastern tip of Koh Samui, and you can see it from our hotel poking up above the trees. It’s 12 meters high and gold!

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I got to pray just before the monks started their chants, which was very moving. I came down from looking at the Big Buddha, and at the bottom there are several smaller shrines.

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I was trying to get a closer look at one of them, which had several small, square cushions on the raised floor in front of a beautiful gold reclining Buddha. One of the monks up on the platform motioned me to one of the cushions, so I took off my shoes and climbed up. As I got closer to the Buddha, I felt a very warm, vibrating sensation fill my body. As I sat down on my heels I closed my eyes and let the scent of sandalwood incense fill my nose. I folded my hands, palms up, in my lap, and said a few words in my head, and then my mind went completely blank. I was totally overwhelmed by the heat in my body and the feeling of fullness, gratitude and love. Placing my hands palms together at my heart, I bowed forward all the way to the floor. I wish I were a poet so I could explain the fullness and beauty of these moments…it was incredible, the energy of this place of prayer and reverence. I felt a similar feeling when I was in St. Peter’s Basilica in 2000. I think religions are like fingers on a hand…they all lead to the same source. We all want the same things right? Love, peace, happiness? In this place, in the dim light of late afternoon, I felt like part of the whole, completely connected.

Posted by kmpossible 20:32 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world

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