Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In Which I Forgot the Pig

Dude. I forgot to tell you about Ood.

See? That's what happens when I don't blog every day on trips like this - I forget so many of the details I had stored up in my mind to tell you all about.

For example, I totally forgot to tell you about the butterfly waterfall. As a part of the long day trip Phra Den took us on on Friday, we stopped off at a waterfall in the area. At the entrance to the trail, there was a little wooden rest area with benches and a roof. And the entire place was covered with black-and-blue butterflies. We walked up to them, naturally, and they took flight, hovering over the benches and under the roof in this fluttering cloud.

Then we walked down the path and came upon this gorgeous waterfall. We spent some time there - the driver showed Oscar and Jessica how to climb up the rocks using a rope and the vines, and we all spent some time sitting near the water, dipping our feet in the deliciously cool current.

Or there's the breakfast I forgot to mention. Saturday morning, the kitchen staff at the wat told us they had prepared a special treat for us - "real American breakfast!" They had proudly set out bowls of fried eggs, white toast, cold hot dogs, and three jars of jam and one jar of ketchup they had obviously bought just for the occasion. It was so sweet of them!

And then there's Ood. While we were walking along the beach the first night, Phra Den was pointing out the sights. "Oh!" he said, "And there is Ood." He gestured with an open hand back towards the wat. There, snuffling around the bushes in front of the main building, was the largest pig I've ever seen in my life. Tall enough to reach my chest level and weighing between 300-800 pounds (according to Oscar and Sean, who argued about it later that weekend), he was huge! Eunice and I quasi-joked about the terror of running into Ood in the middle of the night on the way to the latrine.

Saturday night, Sean, Paul, and I were sitting around the table in the canteen talking when we suddenly here that snuffling sound. Ood had come out, and was eating his way through the bushes on the outside of the canteen's half-wall. I got up to take a picture of him, and Sean jokingly started making fun of the pig. That's when Ood, with all kinds of grunting, charged the wall of the canteen. Sean would not apologize to the pig, but he did watch his tongue the rest of the night, especially since Ood flopped down for a nap right next to the wall, grunting in his sleep whenever Sean tried to sneak past him on the way to the restroom.

P.S. The other volunteers claimed the pig's name is closer to "Oot," but given a) the similarity between d and t in Thai pronunciation and b) my fondness for Dr. Who, I assured them that it had to be "Ood". And "Ood" it is.

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