Saturday, December 29, 2012

Naga-mobile






In Gotham City, Batman drives around in his Batmobile.  His Holiness, the Pope, while traveling throughout the world is driven around in the Popemobile.

On Thursday, Duang and I attended a house warming here in Udonthani.  Duang's youngest brother had been hired to provide the entertainment for the celebration.  Here in Isaan, people have a party when they move into a new home or start a new business.  Part of the celebration is a merit making ritual where food offerings and goods such as robes and toiletries are given to the Monks.  The Monks and the family walk around the house three times before the Monks inspect the home and bless the home as well as occupants.


Monk Leads Procession Around New Home
After the religious aspects of the celebration have concluded, there is typically a live show to entertain the people.  The show typically lasts around 5 hours.  The celebration always includes a great deal of drinking and eating.

When we arrived at the new home, actually a new shop house, the religious portion of the celebration was about to commence.  The family will live on the second and third floors while the first floor is reserved for cooking and more importantly the family's whiskey distribution business.  I noticed an elaborately painted Mazda pick up truck parked in front of the home.

Nagas Guarding A Stairway In Luang Prabang, Laos
The truck was decorated in a religious motif, the mythological snake creature "Naga".  The Naga is a large snake creature that is found in Hindu as well as Buddhist religions. Nagas are not allowed inside of the temples but you will often find sculptures of the Nagas on the stairways leading up to the temples. For the Lao Loum people of Thailand and the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (Laos) living along the Mekong River the Nagas are still believed to rule the river.

7 Headed Naga Outside of Temple In Luang Prabang, Laos
It did not take very long for me to determine that this tricked out vehicle, which I nicknamed "The Nagamobile" was the transportation for the Monk.  Monks are not allowed to drive but some temples have vehicles that are driven by laymen to transport the Monks.  In this case, it is a very special vehicle.

 

 
 



Headed Back to the Wat
I waited for the Monk to get back to the Nagamobile so that I could get some photos of him and his special vehicle.  Duang explained to him what I was up to.  As so often happens around here, the Monk was more than accommodating even requesting that Duang take pictures of me and him in front of the truck.

On the Road Again !
I often find myself smiling these days.  My smiles are neither condescending or scornful.  I am smiling the smiles that an inner joy and contentment brings.  Thursday was another one of those days of smiles ... thinking of the nagamobile.

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