sunday january 31
thaipasum needed to be seen to be believed. devotees gather at the temple with their family and friends. a small altar is set up by each group and a set of ritual prayers performed. then the devotee, usually a young man who has been fasting in preparation, is pierced. three piercings are made through his forehead, and then many spikes are pierced just under the skin. the final and most invasive is a skewer through the mouth from cheek to cheek, and then one from the top lip, through the tongue, and out the bottom lip. then these skewers are decorated. finally, a very tall basket that has been highly decorated is placed on the man's head. this thing looks stinking heavy. after a series of prayers in the temple, the devotee and his followers set off and join the 4 kilometre parade route in the heat with bare feet, carrying this load. look it up on the internet to get some pictures. i am just not doing it justice.
it was dinner out with d and j. a good time was had by all. the only minor glich was d sambucca which turned ou to be water. the problem was rectified after she complained. i guess so.
today we are off to a baby birthday party for some friends of d a j, and then tomorrow we pick up our vietnamese visas and head off to Thailand. good-bye good life, hello reality.