Today is a day of rest. Not planned, but we can all use a day of loafing and not one of us is complaining. We awoke this morning to a sun rise. The clouds have dispersed somewhat and the sun is shining covering all that is around with that golden morning sun colour.
At 4am the tradition around here is to get together with the neighbours and engage in some sort of religious ceremony involving chanting. We are aware of this; there is a note on the table in the hotel giving us the heads up. The chanting itself would not even be an issue but someone in their wisdom introduced the head monks to electronics and the chanting is now broadcast at volume for the entire valley to enjoy. So 4am is wake up time even for all us non Buddhists.
Shortly after the chanting subsides, just long enough for the boat operators to get to the jetty, the non-mufflered boats start to ply the waters and sleep is again interrupted. The craft pass by the hotel much the same as traffic during the morning rush hour at home. These boats are very long and narrow with a small engine, propeller and shaft that can be lifted from the water. They are much the same as the ubiquitous long tail boat seen throughout Asia but the tail is short and the cross section is more like a canoe. It is odd but the owner of this hotel decided to locate it right between two of the main water routes. It is a little like placing a resort right where two freeways converge. These boats are not quiet, every time one passes, which is about every 3 minutes I conjure up the image of living near a very busy airport. The sound of a passing boat is much the same as that of a 737 taking off.
We know we are not going anywhere today so our day starts in a leisurely manner. We still meet R & L for breakfast at 7am but from there we rest. There are a few chores like drying our still soaked laundry from the hike and reorganizing our gear so we can again live out of our suit cases. We then sit back with our books to read. It is now I realize we are marooned; on an island of stilts with no way off. Last night we see a boardwalk that heads off in a direction away from the hotel and think it might lead to the village visible in the distance. This morning on closer inspection it only goes as far as a gazebo about 100M on. I’m not in a panic but Gilligan’s Island comes to mind.
Another interesting outcome of the day off is the fact we have not seen one monk. No monk looking for alms for breakfast, no monk doing laundry, no monk participating in a ceremony, no monk hanging out at the monastery, not even a monk taking a picture with his IPhone of some tourist attraction. This is a good break as they are becoming quite ordinary. I am not sure that seeing these sites should become ordinary and tomorrow hopefully we can again embrace the unusualness of the place where we are.
How slow is today? Debbie has just filled me in on the fact that the clouds she has been observing are constantly in a state of flux. They change only a very little at a time but they do change. Cloud gazing? We are talking slow.
After last year in Africa you would think we would naturally have more information about the animal kingdom. Well, last night we notice a very unusual phenomenon. I think it indicates animals know where to find dinner and they are good at following up on that knowledge.
Along the walkway that connects the cabins there is a row of lanterns on each side. They are staggered as you walk, one on the left, 3 steps on, one on the right. We notice a gecko at one of the lanterns and stop to watch. Funny little creatures they are. As we walk back to our room we see there is a resident gecko at almost every lantern. Then we see there is a significant number of flying insects at the lanterns without a squatter. A full belly is a good belly.