A Sleep Over in a Monastery
After walking for a day it was lovely to come to a stop. We stayed the night at Hti Thein Monastery with a couple of other hiking groups. We arrived first so were able to bagsy our sleeping area which was a padded mat on the floor (I found it very comfortable!). All of the travellers sleeping over were in the same large hall but we were curtained off in groups by an intricate web construction of washing lines and blankets. The toilets were outside around the back of the main building quite an experience in the middle of the night, a head torch would be recommended for this experience! Washing facilities are also outside with a wall that only reaches up to about shoulder height and a bucket. Simple…yes I would agree but it was enough for one night. Although we had vastly differing opinions between us and some heated discussions about whether or not we would do it again. I was on the side of loving the experience and would definitely do it again, but I’m not so sure about the other two.
Meals were served across the courtyard in a simple wood and brick structure with no power so everything revolves around the daylight. The monks are up with the sunrise and go to bed with the sunset, this translated into 5am-8pm during out stay.
The food we shared was REALLY good, home cooked from local produce and the dishes just kept coming! Pudding was home made sesame snacks and green tea. We were all in agreement that the sesame snacks were the best ones we had ever tasted.
We watched the sun go down while we ate and then it was straight off to bed to regain strength for another hike the next day. I slept like a log but that is not unusual for me and seems to be my super power of choice which my friends were really jealous about…even on an overnight coach that played loud music all through the night but thats another story.
Breakfast the next morning was also very good. Sweet rice pancakes a range of fruit and some of the tastiest mashed avocado I’ve ever had most likely because they were growing all around us and of course green tea. A perfect way to refuel for the day ahead. Personally I loved this whole experience. No wifi and the simplest and most basic of possessions is an aesthetic that really appeals to me, it really helps to enable a clear mind and space to think and wonder. But it is an aesthetic I would find very hard to live by on a permanent basis as I have a problem with collecting all sorts of stuff. But this experience has encouraged me to have a reassessment of all the stuff and make a few changes. So we shall see!