Sacred Stone Balls at a Buddhist Wat


This was a sign on the side of the road whilst we were taking our daughter to school. My first question was "wow that is a big golden ball for the new Buddhist temple". This was met with laughter from my wife which only increased when I wanted to go to see it - it is in Nakon Si Thammarat!



The first time I saw these balls was on Macha Bucha Day at Wat Vichit Sangkaram on the outskirts of Phuket Town and then I recall seeing them at Wat Khao Rang (Wat Thepkajonjit). To the left of the Wat and I never knew what they were.


Then I found out what the balls were - information is all from another blogger - thanks Mike Rose.



These sacred stone balls, usually nine, are called ลูกนิมิต in the Thai language and are placed at the four corners and other cardinal points of the พระอุโบสถ. With one stone(often slightly larger)  situated under the main Buddha image inside the ordination hall.


The actual process of burying the sacred stone balls is open to the public and may take place during a temple fair or other festivities at the Wat. People are invited to to gild the stones by buying the small pieces of gold leaf used by Thai Buddhists in their devotions  and rubbing the gold onto the exposed stones.

The monks from the temple may also bury sacred objects in the recess that houses the ลูกนิมิต. When the stones have been buried markers are then built over the location of the stones.


These markers, ใบเสมา, are only built over the externally placed stones since as already mentioned one stone is inside the building under the principle Buddha statue. The external ใบเสมา and their hidden ลูกนิมิต mark the boundary of the sacred ground that is the home for the ordination hall.

Thanks Mike -  I now know what they are.

The พระอุโบสถ is only used for religious ceremonies, principally the ordination of new Buddhist monks. It is normally not available to the general public to use but many พระอุโบสถ are open for viewing the religious artefacts they contain when not being used by the monks for their devotions.

Thanks again to Mike Rose for the information.


Google Translate - App for your holiday




I need someone to understand me!


Description


Break through language barriers with Google Translate:

• Translate 80 languages
• Listen to your translations spoken aloud
• Directly translate speech and handwriting
• Star your favourite translations for quick access even when you’re offline
• View dictionary results for single words or phrases

Translations between the following languages are supported:
Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belarusian, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cebuano, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Icelandic, Igbo, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Maori, Marathi, Mongolian, Nepali, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish, Yoruba, Zulu



Google Translate is an App which I have previously posted here and here - it was great to use whilst I live and work in Thailand. But I was then in trouble because I could not help a Chinese Gentleman who wanted us to do something but we were all at a complete loss...




So I tried the Audio translate. I set up the correct language and then I asked the guest to speak into the telephone (needing the Internet)...




And it worked - fabulous - a happy guest, happy staff and a fixed air-conditioner. Maybe all hotels should have this in the Front Lobby of their hotels?
Previous Posts
 1) April 2013
 2) August 2012  


Cost: Free
Ease of use: very simple
Comment: a saviour for a holiday maker - use the audio!!!

Advice for your taxi at Phuket Airport



PLEASE FOLLOW THE ADVISE BELOW

Always book your Hotel and airport transfer in advance, even if only for one night. It is much easier to shop for a deal once you have escaped the Airport Taxi Touts, because no Hotel will be able to offer you any special deal when you arrive in an airport taxi. Also, drivers employed by Hotels are generally more friendly and helpful.

If you don't have time to book in advance, simply order the taxi to go directly to the hotel of your choice and tell him you already have a booking. But this will sometimes create a problem for the hotel because if you dont have any documentation of your booking, the taxi driver will insist the hotel pay a commission anyway. They are very pushy and often times will volunteer to help carry your bags to reception so they can see if you produce documentation of a booking at check in.

Never discuss your travel details with Airport Taxi drivers , treat them exactly as what they are, a service which employs low class people to perform the job of bringing you from point A to point B. Never give a taxi driver any respect, they see that as a sign that you are weak and can be taken advantage of. It is important to remember, they demand a commission on every night you stay not just the first night. They even come back and check with reception to see if you checked out or stayed longer.

Please keep a note of the taxis ID number in case you want to report any strange behavior and in case the driver asks the hotel to pay a commission after you check in, you can give that information to the Hotel. Use the metered taxis if possible. Help them to get their business going, but please follow the same guidelines above as they also would like to get a piece of the hotel action.

The text above is from Phuket Sawasdee.
Wow - not sure about the Respect?



Blind signs, Cappuccino, Dairy Hut, Ice Cream and dinosaurs



The day started late for me today because there was a lot of cooking to do - but that's another story to post... I had visited here previously - to have a massage taken by special people, people who were blind but had been trained to massage you?


So we left in the late afternoon to what many people like to do on their day - go to the hairdresser. For me it was something else - I went to a coffee shop, Ba Be Lon, a review here will be forthcoming.


The walk was always interesting - I loved this idea of hanging the scissors up in the laundrette. I wonder whether this would work everywhere?


I popped into a Chinese shrine which was nearby - Lim Hu Tai Su Chinese Shrine - found that so much was still covered in fire-crackers. I did like the spiked ball on a chain though - mostly seen 'in action' in the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.


The next stop was the cacti? with the egg shells on next to the noodle shop. It was certainly an interesting trip...


Following this it was a stop for lunch at Dairy Hut, a review here will be forthcoming.


Then it was an ice cream for us all - the traditional Thai way...


Then we met with all the dinosaurs at Tesco...

10 Ways to Bag a Bargin



This is actually not about Phuket but about how to bargin in the Marrakech Medina.


I would say that it was a pretty good guide to Phuket - Here is the full and original article - written by  Kym Campton DATE May 28, 2015

1. Bargain with a smile

2. Learn some of the local language

3. Talk to an artisan

4. Shop around… but not too much

5. Shut down the hassle politely

6. Take the attention in good humour

7. Seek out some of the amazing designer boutiques

8. Explore the antique stalls

9. Don’t follow a stranger

10. Take a shopping tour with a local expert

 Enjoy your shopping and your bargaining.

(For the map please click here)


Mini-marathon


It certainly was an early start for us and we went to มหาวิทยาลัยสงขลานครินทร์ (Prince of Songkla University) We put the wrong code on our shirts initially! We were going to do the 9km run... 



I am glad that we changed them.



The 9km set off first, followed by us 



and then the bicycles...



Thought that the short cut looked good but I didn't! Okay it might not have been as far as I remember running here previously - but it was certainly enough thank you very much. The only thing that I kept look for was my telephone to take photographs of the morning.


video

Then there was the entertainment for those who had finished.



I stuck with a simple breakfast...



Thank you to the team from Cape Panwa Hotel for doing this together - when is the next one?



Also thank you to the team who supplied us the breakfast and tidied up after us.



This was the route that we ran - using the App Runmeter - review to follow here.

Previous 'fun runs'

Cicada and the noise they make!


Have you seen many of these? They are called a cicada - 



This is the noise that a lot of them make! - That noise that you hear on the video above is real and no I have not turned the volume up!

"They make this sound by flexing their tymbals, which are drum-like organs found in their abdomens. Small muscles rapidly pull the tymbals in and out of shape — like a child's click-toy. The sound is intensified by the cicada's mostly hollow abdomen." i information from http://www.cicadamania.com/ 



These pictures are actually not the cicada, although I thought that they were initially!


http://www.cicadamania.com/ 

This is actually what they are - the skin which remains after the molting of the cicada!
We saw these on our trip to Ko Yao Noi.



Bicycle ride, Bug Buddha, Breakfast and Otters


It was a start after all the homework had been done - bicycles were checked and then we were off - see the map at the bottom of the post to see where we went.



It was certainly not the easiest bicycle journey it certainly was up and down a lot on our journey.



The Khao Kad Viewpoint was a great spot for photography...



It was so much effort for the family that we stopped on the journey more than once - up the hills was a common spot to stop. 



The beach was were the hammocks were tested



 but The Ship Inn was the most popular and the Cocoa Cola was cold.



The 'pit-stop' was followed but an 'escape' into the air-conditioning of Cafe Kantary adjacent to Kantary Bay Hotel and this is where we had our breakfast.



Then a chocolate milkshake.



Back onto our bicycles and we could not see the sea turtles for a reason but we got back onto our bicycles and cycled off to see the Otters.



The Otters were there and having a wonderful time.



The pier at the end of the road seems to be progressing nicely.



I hope that the man and his home will be there in 6 months...



Then we stopped at a small coffee shop on the way home and they had a wonderful lawn.








Dugong dies in Phuket


The visit to the Phuket Aquarium to visit the Puffer Fish we tried to rescue had a lot more to see this time. The staff were pleased to see me but told me that the vet had been unable to rescue the Puffer Fish...


Never mind we went down to the Turtle Breeding Centre at the back - and we got a real shock!!


What on earth were they cutting into smaller pieces?

Was it a big turtle?

Was it a dolphin?

Was it a shark - Yes!

We were wrong - it was a Dugong. 


The Dugong had been either washed up from Koh Yai Yo - with it's head cut for it's teeth? Well we were not sure as we did not get that close! Here's a report form the Phuket Gazette


OR was it the Dugong which had died from hitting a boat's propellor? Here's a report from the Phuket News.