Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Deep Mysteries of the Strawberry Choco Pie

Hung out with my host mom and sister today in UB. The occasion: my sister is starting college in UB (she will study social work, my host mom's occupation). So, after eating some delicious, I argue the best, vegetarian tsuivan in UB we went over to a monestary to see the largest statue of Buddha in the country.

It was, big.

But that wasn't the interesting part. Hundreds of prayer wheels surround the giant statue. People spin the wheels as they circumvent the Buddha in a clockwise manner. Chanting (a recording? possibly monks hidden on the second or third story balcony?) provided a backdrop.

Half way through this circular journey we encountered a small altar with a package of strawberry choco pies placed on top as an offering. Tiny Buddha statues lined the walls. Candy strewn about their little golden crossed legs. I know that I am often appeased by means of candy.

Leaving the temple I ask my mom what the Buddha was holding in his hands: a large pitcher and a silver spherical object. Mom had to think a bit before she (seemingly honestly) replied that the pitcher "contained" holy/pure water. The silver thing: no idea.

Moving on to another temple in the same complex we see some of the lamas chanting. The kid monks (maybe 10-17 years old) look back and forth giggling, some chanting at strange intervals with the leading monks, another text messaging someone on his dinosaur of a Nokia.

Enlightened by the situation, I'm enjoying time with friends in the Peace Corps office to the accompaniment of guitar improv before we leave for home tomorrow.

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