We've been enjoying a deliciously lazy weekend on the outskirts of Pattaya, away from the sleaze and Slavic gangsters. A highlight (apart from friends, dogs, food, sea air and amusing Germans in very small pants) was a visit to the Sanctuary of Truth, a vast structure that claims to synthesise all the best bits of Hindu and Buddhist culture: the fact that it's made of wood, and thus in a constant state of renewal and repair, is in itself a reference to the Buddhist notion of anicca, or impermanence; all is dust, and will at some time become one again with the universe from which it arose.
There's a bit of cultural chauvinism at work here, though, as a snippet from the website suggests:
From the Cold War era until today, the world has been under the influence of western civilization, accentuated by materialism and devotion to advanced technology.
Which is a fair point. Yah-boo to Judaeo-Christian capitalism. Except that the entrance fees for the Sanctuary are subsidised by horse and elephant rides, speedboat tours, quad bikes, go-karts, a dolphin show, and so on. It's like a Vedic Sistine Chapel, but with a bit of Alton Towers chucked in to keep the heathens sweet. Impermanence, it seems, doesn't come cheap.
PS: Apologies to anyone who spotted the rather saucy image that made its way onto this post earlier, thanks to some unknown force. And thank you to the kind reader who drew my attention to the problem. Who, embarrassingly enough, was my mother...
PPS: Chastened late addition: Photographer: Talen; Site: http://thailandlandofsmiles.com