Jan 3, 2011
On our last day I showed up at the Pagoda near our hotel to draw the beautiful alter with the Buddhas inside. There are always landmine victims with a leg missing begging in front of this joint. It is quite heart wrenching. One must take off their shoes to enter. There is also a bunch of monks overseeing the action. In this kind of religious setting I am always unsure of the protocol. Is it bad form for me to now whip out a camping stool and park myself inside and draw? I mingle about for a few minutes trying to read the room. There was a Khmer band playing music and lots of people dropping by to make offerings. I made my decision to go for it. Parked to the right side of the entryway I begin to draw. As the sketch took shape, the monks came over to see. They were overjoyed. Every ten minutes they ran over to check it again. They started to move stuff around the alter because they felt it would make the drawing better. Angling statues so the perspective looked nicer. They couldn't speak English so they would point and nod, "is this better?" I would nod back an approval and they would grin ear to ear. At one point I looked up and it was my friend, Jingle Bells entering the Pagoda with five of her tiny friends. She and her mates were all over me. This did not go over well with the monks. They barked commands at the kiddies to move back and give me a certain amount of room. I tried to explain that it was alright, that Jingle Bells was my friend and it's alright if small children bother me. But the monks would have none of it. I was making a great drawing and I was to be left undisturbed. Jingle Bells was a little sad but she understood the drill. The kids all stayed three feet away while I finished my last hours work. When I was done the monks were so honored. They even offered me food, which I took because I didn't want to insult anyone. I'm sure it was food left as an offering but still it was all they had to give me and it was a lovely gesture. I said goodbye to them and Jingle Bells and went on my merry way.