I had no idea the wat was there because I hadn't even noticed it on our map. And our guide book didn't say anything about it. It lists dozens of wats around the city. But this one must be so minor, so insignificant, that it doesn't merit mention. I couldn't imagine a city with so many splendors that the building in front of me was not noteworthy. The building was incredible, adorned with statues and sparkling colors. I thought Christian churches were opulent (they are). This was something else all together
. But one thing remained the same - like all good opulence, it was surrounded by squalor. The surrounding neighborhood was full of dirty paths, dark alleys, meager homes, a flooded and sandbagged street. Some things are universal. But as much as this sort of thing used to bother me, I'm starting to make my peace with it. I look at it the same as my purchase of a lottery ticket: it is clearly not a good investment, but it offers me hope. And paying a dollar for hope, for the few hours of dreaming I'm allowed once that ticket is in my hand, the money spent in my head - that's not bad for a buck. And these temples, the world over, are the same. They don't put food on the table, they don't heal the sick, but they do offer hope. They offer comfort. And that can't be dismissed.
We went back the following day to have a better look and take some photos. Have a look.
We were wandering around near our hotel one night, into neighborhoods that were probably best explored under the safety of the sun, and stumbled upon an incredible sight. A giant wat (temple) rose up out of dingy surroundings, glowing in the night sky. There aren't lights on the building, just surrounding it. And the facades' flakes of gold and green and red shimmered brilliantly.