VERY Old Bowls, So They Say

So, you heard all about the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, and my not-so-horrible dress fiasco. But did I tell you about an excursion we went on to the monk bowl workshop? Nope. Upstaged and passed-over by dress, wine and fluff as usual!
Well, we did. And this is one of those experiences that I wish the boys were a weeeee bit older to be able to understand what was happening before their eyes. There are so many practices, skills, and services that have disappeared from the planet with time. Progression of society, whatever. There are no monk bowl craftsmen anymore, since you can go to Big C (the equivalent of Walmart or Target) and get a cheap plastic bowl to donate your alms in.
There is just one shop left. So they say. In all of Bangkok. And that's where we went one Saturday morning with a CLO tour, led by a wonderful volunteer. (I really hope to do that someday myself!)
We departed on foot from the Giant Swing and after two turns found ourselves walking single-file down a very narrow street. Little houses flanked either side of this village, their doorways wide open and the people inside watching tv or doing their daily chores. No one seemed too concerned that a troop of 12 farangs were strolling by suddenly. Even though I would barely call this soi and alley, it was still wide enough for a motorcycle or skooter to slowly go by every now and then.
The shop was small and unassuming. We knew we had reached it by the huge pile of bowls, or Bart, stacked outside in wait of being polished. If you're curious about the shop, you can visit the website here: which has a little explanation if how the village came to be and how the bart are made. Little P is such a hands-on kid, before we could stop him, he was seated on a stool and tapping one of the bowls with an awl of some kind.
She also showed him how to tap the outside with a little hammer to make the patterns you find on the more ornamental bowls. We were actually having so much fun watching him, that all the available bowls were sold out before we had a chance to pick one!

I was glad we watched and waited, however, as the salesman discussed the bowls with one of the people on our tour. She had taken her bowl out of the bag and was happily examining it. "How old?" she asked. There was a long pause, and the man answered, "very old." She was hoping for something much more specific, so after much pestering he finally told her it was VERY old, 100 years old, in fact.

The funny thing is that you can't really tell if he was telling the truth at all, as you can laquer the old bowls or repolish them to look like new. However, I am pretty certain that if we stopped by that shop this weekend we would find a whole new batch of "VERY old" bowls. But that's just the sceptic in me.

Natezilla, on the other hand, wanted no part of the photo opportunity. And it was treacherously close to nap time. So we begged him to cooperate and bribed him with a lollipop to check out this dude. And that's the best we got.