Sunday, January 15, 2012

Around the World: Exploring Ko Samui

January 15, 1992

Explored some of the sites on the island today in a rented jeep.  Not far from the hotel is the Big Buddah, a 12 meter high gold statue that is visible for miles over the treetops.  On the opposite side of the island is the Buddah Footprint, which is a vaguely distinguishable imprint in a substance similar to concrete, however the hilltop shrine has a remarkable view of the island.  The scenery is a nice reward while I catch my breath after climbing the 163 steps to the top.

Big Buddah
Photo by Silver Sand

On our way to one of the island's many temples, the jeep narrowly missed being wiped off the road by a rock slide.  Fortunately, there was just enough time to stop and watch a few large boulders tumble across the road just beyond the hood.

Disaster averted, it only seemed appropriate to continue to the Buddhist shrine of Wat Kiri Wongkaram, which houses the remains of the Buddhist monk, Luang-Por Rerm.  After living a life of purity and meditation for 66 years, his body naturally mummified upon his death without any chemical preservation. The monk is on display, behind glass, and although he's been dead since 1966, his nails and hair continue to grow.  Sections of his hair and nails are cut and used as protective charms.

Walking around the grounds of the temple, I found an interesting specimen, not unlike this...

Photo by Alexander Marc Eckert

 ...hanging out between two poles that supported a sign.  I was just passing under the sign when I saw this gigantic, platter-size spider waiting in a web spun just inches above my head.  Although instinct told me to stop and retreat, I didn't want to risk leaping out of my skin and disturbing the web.  I continued past "Sentry Spider, Sir", hoping to find an alternate route back to the main entrance that didn't exist, unless I wanted to wade through the bushes.  If something this big is out in the open, I'm not eager to find out what's hiding under cover.  Realizing I would have to pass under the web again, I crouched down and bolted past the sign.  Although the spider remained motionless, I wasn't going to chance taking my eyes off it.

Limbo:  it's not just a party game.  It's a survival strategy.

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"Let us rise up and be thankful; for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."