I like buddhist monks. They seem just like normal people. I’ve seen them shopping for jeans in Tesco. They all have mobile phones. Perhaps there are some ascetic monks who have no worldly goods, but I’ve not seen them yet.

I was cycling through town this morning and caught sight of an elderly monk walking with an umbrella in one hand and a tripod walking stick in the other. He was smoking a cigarette and making slow progress. I thought to myself, it would be impudent to stop and take his photograph, so I rode on. Just then a lady on a motor scooter stopped and offered him a lift.

I thought that monks avoided physical contact with women, but obviously, this monk was so puffed out, he gladly accepted the ride. I reckoned that this was worth a photograph and snapped a picture of them just setting off. You can see his umbrella and a casual ciggie between his lips.

I took another picture as they drove past me. In this photo you can see his tripod stick.


I pedalled 17 km to visit a remote monastery today. One young monk struck up a conversation, to practise his English, no doubt. Because the Premier League is so popular in Thailand, it is a common topic for discussion. Most people here support Manchester United, so I waffled on about Rooney, Giggs and Van Persie.

An older monk came over and joined in our chat. “Man U are rubbish. I support City,” he said. “They beat Arsenal 6-3.” I wonder if he meditates about Manchester, too.


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