A week into our trip, and I just stumbled across some notes I wrote a few weeks ago when I was feeling anxious about the trip. I listed a few worse-case scenarios, and then my reasons for going: to get outside the bubble of my own culture, and see if I could be comfortable there. To experience the gentle Buddhist vibe of this lovely country.

And in spite of some moments of anxiety melt-down, it’s very much come to pass as I hoped.

Last night we witnessed a beautiful ceremony at our local wat, which takes place on the February full moon. A huge drum was booming and hundreds of monks and laypeople were circling the main temple carrying candles and flowers. The whole place was festooned with christmas lights and candles.

And strangely, inside the most sacred heart of the temple, they were screening a power point show about the evils of smoking, featuring dogs and chimanzees with butts hanging out of their mouths. Go figure. Anyway, it’s a strange and wonderful place, a strange and wonderful world we live in.