We leave the house at 18:00 and walk the few hundred yards to the temple where we are met by a sea of people. I dont know where they have all come from. The vast majority of people here are women who wear all white and they are gathering around the temple bot, placing their mats on the floor in the best places to reserve them for later - must be a bit of German blood there somewhere ? The area all around the bot is covered by a loose net of the same string that winds its way around the village so everything is connected. When someone takes a place on the flooe beneath the net they drop down a piece of string and attach it to small pots that everyone has to show that they have aleady made a donation. There must be more than 1000 people here already. I wander around with Jai, the fat bitch and the devil child for a while until they set down their mat and set up home for the night. I go and sit on a cool sala and watch everyone arriving as it gets dark. Someone even brings me a coffee which must have earned them a few merits to their kharma in my book. By 20:00 it is completely dark and there must be approaching 2000 people in position around the bot. The old boy who all this is for, lorng por, is seated in a large chair at the top of the stairs by the doorway to the bot overlooking everyone. The PA system goes quiet and the neverending chatter is replaced by a monk chanting. I stay till about 21:00 before returning to bed and leaving them all to it. With a full moon sitting above the wat to add effect it really is quite haunting and spiritual - still, enough of that.
Jai goes to the temple first thing this morning to feed the people who are sleeping there for the week and she is gone for most of the day. I find out a little bit more about what is happening at the temple this evening and it has nothing at all to do with Jai's brother. In fact it is her grandmothers, younger sisters, son - clear as mud now. He is in his late 80s now and apparently has been a monk nearly all of his adult life. The festivities at the moment are to mark his 40th anniversary as a monk so - well, you do the maths but that doesnt take him as far back as a young adult in my books. I query these facts but ... When he went to the 'do' at Nong Khai last month it was to receive a letter of commendation from the King & Queen. Or maybe this is all wrong as well !!!!! Anyway, there is a big 'do' at the village temple tonight and I have relented to attend briefly but with no intention of staying for the duration.