I’m immediately adopted by the only guy who speaks more than five words of English, probably the DJ’s brother. He leads me around the village introducing me to everybody as his long lost friend from America. I keep telling him ’England’, but that doesn’t seem to matter. I must go to the Temple, I must see their prized possession, "ma-hat-sa-jan Kai". I must be confused, because I think that means ’Astonishing Egg’. I’m guided to the upper floor of the Temple where it’s thankfully cool, dark and quiet. The monk sits cross legged on the small platform and I kneel in front of him. He blesses me and then vanishes through a door at the back of his stage. Minutes later, he emerges with their most treasured possession … "ma-hat-sa-jan kai". Unless I’m very much mistaken, it’s an ostrich egg sitting in a ceramic bowl …. mai pen rai.
Having duly shown my amazement at the sight of the astonishing egg that they truly believe was laid by some strange and mystical creature, I’m taken outside and thrown to the ladies of the village. They show me no mercy and I’m forced to dance in an enclosure with some sort of Maypole at it’s centre. I am clueless as to what is actually happening but I go with the flow and get down with the Mamma’s beneath the blistering sun …. mai pen rai
An hour later, possibly two but certainly no more than three, I’m on the back of yet another truck and returning to the City. The mayhem continues and the novelty of being drenched in water and talcum powder is beginning to wear off. I want my bed, I want to be alone and quiet for just an hour. I want to have a conversation in English and eat a meal that I can fully identify. Like the policemen who are tasked with keeping order amongst this chaos, I just want to return to normality …. mai pen rai