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Kim’s Travel Diary

Friday, 26 Oct 2007

Location: Singburi, Thailand

MapWell, talk out getting templed out, all we seem to have done for the last two days is visit one or another. I will not even try and descibe them to you, I could hear the snores from here but just to list them, Wat Phikulthong Temple, Wat Phranonjuksri Temple and the Bang Rachan Monument, various Buddha's in various postions and various materials. The most spooky one had a wax model of the old Abbot in (there is a picture) and I promise it took several minutes to realise that he was not alive and then you still kept on looking to just make sure that it was not a joke. I think that he must have put a jinx on my camera as it has not worked properly since that day.
Today has also been a day of temples but with a different feel this afternoon. We travelled out of the Singburi area into Lupburi Province and saw the Somdet Phara National Museum, another pile of ruins with more idols and then we went to the Wat Pharabhat Temple. This was harder as it is a temple and buildings dedicated to AIDS and HIV. There is no general policy in Thailand to deal with this from a medical point of view and so in several areas, the monks have taken it upon themselves to care for these people and their families. Everyone, everyone in the village has AIDS or HIV in stages of illness and they all care for each other in purpose built houses, hospital and shop but what gets to you is the Human Museum. People that have died from AIDS have donated their bodies to this and all there is to see is their mummified skeletons and a brief note on what they did for a living and how they contracted HIV, there was even two small children included in this. The sadest one was from a woman, job - housewfie, contracted from - husband, nothing else said. It was a very sobering moment and I wish that it could be available for more people to see, just might may some think twice. The other sobering moment was the statue of Buddha is completely covered from the floor to the top of his plinth with white linen bags - these contain the bones and ashes of those that have died in the village since its opening 6 or 7 years ago, a total of over 1500 bodies. The return home was quiet.