me and my bodyguards hehe
Wednesday was a pretty cool day. We got to sleep in as long as we wanted, which in my case turned out to be 11. I went to Tesco's to do a few errands and then it was time to leave for the yard. We all looked pretty smart dressed up in the best outfits we could pull together. The yard looked pretty fancy (well, as fancy as a shipyard can get) with it's blue and white bunting, flags everywhere, and white cloth seats set up. Not to mention the hundred Thai navy officers walking around in various dress uniforms. After we were all seated (we got to be in the front row with all the yard workers behind us) we waited for a few minutes until the admiral showed up, and then the ceremony began with a prayer by some monks.
weird angle... us on the boat
Apparently the prayers went longer than normal, as we found out later, but it being our first ceremony we had no idea that 25 minutes was unusually long for chanting. The room was so hot and our hands were so tired from holding them in the wai position (sort of like a normal prayer position, pointed out in front) that it was hard to stay awake. I'm almost positive the admiral fell asleep! The monks were really interesting though, they had special chairs that they sat in without their feet touching the floor, and they held up special signs when they chanted and were brought special drinks by the navy guys. During the prayer they all held onto a piece of string that led from the mini-shrine set up next to them all the way to the two pieces of the keel that were set up as the centerpiece, the reason we were all there.
The actual keel ceremony part was really short, some other guy and the admiral gave short speeches, the admiral stuck his finger in some cement and made thumbrints on the front of the keel pieces and put some flower garlands up, and that was pretty much it. We were a bit worried when the monks started to chant again, but luckily it wasn't for very long and we were able to finally get up. We didn't get very far though, because all the workers wanted to take pictures with us. It was actually really cute, and we spent a good half hour making sure they got a picture with each person that they wanted. They were in their uniforms but were really excited to see us in our "street clothes." Jason and I seemed to be the most popular people to be photographed, and now I have to make a bunch of copies to give to all of them! When we got back to the apartment our phone rang and someone was trying to explain to Eliot something in Thai, and all he could get out of her was "downstairs" and "cake.
monks being delivered drinks
" So I went downstairs, and sure enough, there was a woman waiting for me with a cake and a teddy bear! It turns out my friend Kate found a website and had a cake delivered to me for my birthday! It was awesome! We didn't have enough time to eat it though, as it was quick off the dinner at the bowling alley. Unfortunately the bowling alley was closed for a private party, so instead we had dinner at the food court and walked around the mall for a while. We played with the toys in the kids department for a while, then played with the grownup toys- minibikes and massage chairs, until the mall closed and they kicked us out. When we got back we all dug into the cake Thai- style (spoons only) and it was one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever had! It took me forever to fall asleep and 6 am was a bit of a shock this morning, but work today was good.
the Admiral speaking
I did a lot of odd jobs, like finishing the mats and sewing parts of them, spraypainting the anchor chain, making more keychains, stenciling Argo on liferafts, carrying hatches around, blah blah blah.... I went out to dinner tonight at one of my fave noodle restaurants (for the third time this week!) with Ally and Eliot and just watched the tail end of Flight Plan, and now it's time for bed!
p.s. thanks everyone for the birthday messages, I will be emailing you all soon I promise!