Tuesday, December 16, 2008
SALAKAEWKOO - TOTALLY AWESOME!!!
As lisa reported in her post "Mut Mee Guest House", Nong Khai is a working Thai city, with just a few things for tourists to do. One that we couldn't miss is Salakaewkoo, the sculpture park six km. outside the city. Here was our day's adventure:
We rented bikes in two different places because most rental places do not have kids bikes. After almost striking out a woman says we can take her daughter's bike for the day. How nice of her. The Thai (and Lao) people seem to go out of their way to help you, even if it doesn't pad their pockets. A second kid's bike couldn't be found but Siena was happy to ride on the back of mine. Thai adult bikes have seats above the back wheel for another rider so it worked well, kinda like riding on a scooter. We used our map and promptly got lost. Only with the help of a young Thai man/boy on a scooter were we able to find our way. We kept thanking him (Krop Kun Krop), and he pointed to his sleeve which said "Rescue 50";. Rescueing people is what he did!!
Arrival at the park takes your breath away. Concrete sculptures, some more than seven stories high, grace the grounds. They are a mix of Hindu and Buddhist, with a particular leaning to Buddha statues. A huge one of seven snakes with 10-15 foot long tongues is especially cool. These statues began when the sculptor bought the land after being removed from Laos in 1978. He built his first sculpture park near Vientiane on the Laos side of the Mekong River. The place also had a series of lakes which contained giant catfish. These monsters were about three feet long. I would die of fright if I fell in and had these guys start to swarm on me. Yikes!!!
The most important sculpture in the park is the Wheel of Life which covers life from conception to death with additions of the Buddhist six senses and components of our lives such as Prayer, Democracy, Business, Begging, Poverty. Death and dying is represented by your funeral and a man and woman walking outside the Circle of Life following Buddha to Nirvana.