Since I moved into the neighbourhood I’ve been out and about with my camera a few times, so here are a few pics :
The Pad Thai queen of On Nut
Every night this lady is working her wok at the front of the On Nut night market, with a steady flow of customers getting off the Skytrain and grabbing some takeaway Pad Thai before heading home.
It is almost a case of Pad Thai meets performance art, as she always has an audience watching her turn out 15 serves at a time.
While the boss keeps stirring her noodles, one assistant takes in the cash, another prepares the banana leaf “plates’” with exactly 2 prawns per customer, ready to be folded up when the boss dishes out the finished noodles.
Yesterday I mentioned Halloween and how Thais love a good ghost story …. this is the shrine to Mae Nak, which is one of Thailand’s most famous ghost stories and has been made into several films. Nak was a beautiful woman who supposedly lived in this district about 200 years ago, and whose husband Mak was conscripted into the army during a war. While he was away Nak and their baby died during childbirth, but stay in their home as ghosts until Mak returns from the war. When his friends try to tell him she is just a ghost he does not believe them, and she kills the friends for trying to separate them. One day though she drops some fruit onto the ground, and he sees her stretch out her arm to pick it up and realises the truth. That night he sneaks out of the house and runs off to the local temple, Wat Mahabut, which she cannot enter as it is holy ground. In her anger she terrorizes the locals before an exorcist captures her spirit. Nowadays women come here to pray for an easy childbirth or for their husbands and boyfriends to avoid conscription … there is quite a collection of beautiful dresses inside that have been given to her !
In Nak’s time, Wat Mahabut was a couple of days travel from the capital, nowadays it is just another suburb with condo blocks looking down on it, but if you walk through the grounds of the wat, down to the river you can almost imagine you are in a semi-rural village.
Toothless old women dressed in sarongs sell lottery tickets next to fortune tellers … a happy coincidence ?
Old men paddle their boats across the river, or go fishing.
No, this is not a pet shop …. you buy a bucketful of fish, frogs, eels or whatever then release them into the river to make merit. But if you earn good karma by releasing them, should n’t that mean that the stallholder or his supplier has earned some bad karma by catching them ?
Inside the Wat there are the usual Buddha images, with a different image for each day of the week so you can make special offerings to the Buddha for your day of birth.
But opposite them is this fellow, I have absolutely no idea who or what he is supposed to be ? I’ve been to this wat before and do not remember seeing him there …. perhaps he is just a Halloween extra ?
There is a western style supermarket about 300 metres from my condo, which makes shopping relatively easy as the price tag on the shelf will (usually)tell you what you are buying even if the packaging is only in Thai. Otherwise even the most mundane of tasks like grocery shopping would be more difficult ..are you looking at shampoo or laundry detergent ? But does your local supermarket have an entire aisle dedicated to rice ? And I bet it does not have an aisle for “Religious Accessory” ! Yes, buy your offering to the monks at your local supermarket.
And continuing from my last post about Christmas coming early, why not buy your New Year presents now. Your New Year gifts are prepackaged and on sale now, a whole basketful of goodies for about $55 !