Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man


Those following my travels will undoubtedly have now accepted that I was cursed. The evidence, truth and facts speak volumes. Some of those people may even have been a little worried about how this was all going to end up. The answer is with me winning.

Information taken from here and here showed me what I need to do to lift my curse. Luckily for me, both pieces to the puzzle were at the same temple in the very country I was in and looked simple enough to undertake. Buy a bell. Visit a monk.


It was almost too easy. Shouldn’t I need to go to two separate places, on opposite sides of the world, which I only find out after solving tricky clues and then when I get there I have to battle some sort of super villain?

Apparently not. Although it wasn’t straightforward getting there.

First, I scoured the temple. I asked my hostel owner about getting there. She told me it was too late. It was 2pm. I asked her what time it closed. 6pm. That left me four hours to travel 15kms. I backed myself to complete the task and ignored her attempts to dissuade me.

I found a tuk-tuk and asked him to take me there. He made a funny face and called over someone to speak to me in English. This “tourist” (and in no way someone pretending to be a tourist to get me to go to a specific tailor) told me that it was too hot to go to the temple at the moment and I should either go later on or in the morning. He then told me about a few other temples, presumably without blessing opportunities, that I should go to.

When I eventually tried to get a minibus to the temple, none would take me. They bundled me in a tuk-tuk, who drove me round the block, spoke to a guy and then told me it was too late to go. He then asked me for his full fare, and then his full fare minus 10 baht (20p), for taking me nowhere. He got nothing.

Then another guy came along, took me to a different minibus depot and I got a bus to the temple.

Once there I climbed the 300+ stairs and scoured the temple for my good luck.


I saw lots of bells hanging up, I saw those incense stick things that I don’t really understand and I saw a few monks. What to do first?


First I went to the monk. I didn’t see where to buy the bells so it seemed like a good idea at first. There was a small queue for him and the general procedure seemed to be to get on your knees, saying something to Buddha and then go to the monk.

I followed a Thai family in and although I kept my distance a little bit, the monk began his blessing and included me in the group. This seemed to include him chanting something in Thai and flicking water over us. Then we went one by one up to the monk who tied a blessed white bracelet to our wrist. The group in front of ours had theirs tied by a tour guide, the losers. The first few of ours had theirs tied by the monk before he got bored of that and just started handing out the bracelets to be self-tied.

Until he got to me. He made me stop. He said another blessing and made sure to tie my bracelet himself. It’s almost like he knew I was a special case, that he needed to rush through the others and get to me quickly, that he could leave no chances and had to give me an additional blessing. He probably doesn’t know how much he’s done for the world.


Mission status: 1/2 objectives complete.

Next I needed a bell. The idea of the bell is that it’s also been blessed. You write your name or initials on it, hang it in the mountain top temple and then every time the wind blows and your bell chimes, you are blessed.

A loop or two more of the temple led me to a place selling these bells and I quickly bought one to hang up.


Mission status: 2/2 objectives complete.

If my research has been thorough, then I should now be free of the curse put on me by Auld Reekie Tours. I’m going to send them an e-mail to let them know that they’re responsible for 400 deaths across the globe in the past six months, but they probably won’t care. After all, they do have this disclaimer on their site: “Auld Reekie Tours accepts NO responsibility for injury to or the death of any person, or damage to any property arising from your participation in the activities at any attended event.”

Do I feel different? Well, there have been no major disasters in Chiang Mai this week. Even when it started raining yesterday, that was soon over and we’re back to sunshine. And I don’t mean to brag, but when I went to watch Muay Thai, I predicted all six winners of the professional fights and the local bookies refused to bet with me.

muay thai


Filed under: asia, life, , , , ,

7 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    DO NOT TAKE IT OFF! I only pray that you haven’t already, or we are all f—-d. I’m just saying this because I’m worried you’re relying solely on my account for your research – and I might not have explained that the bracelet is supposed to be allowed to fall off *naturally*

    Not that I believe in it, obviously. I didn’t even get one, it’s just superstition.

    …God, I hope you didn’t take it off though.

    (Also, monks aren’t allowed to touch women, so that’s probably why theirs were handed to a third party before being tied. But you can imagine that there’s deeper significance to your personal treatment if you like! Not that you’re the kind of person to massively misinterpret things).

  2. Oliver says:

    It’s starting to look pretty worn already (strange that this string isn’t more robust) and I was starting to get worried. If it’s okay to let it fall off naturally then things should be okay. (It’s natural for a bracelet to fall off my wrist if I pull really hard with my other hand, right?)

    It was mainly (but not only) kids that were being handed the string and I think I saw women having theirs tied by the monk. What I heard was that monks aren’t allowed to touch women with desire, but if one falls over they’re allowed to help them up. Or if one needs a blessing, they’re presumably able to tied a piece of magical string to their wrist.

    If things start to get a bit boring I might just cut it off. It’ll give me an excuse to return to Thailand at some point as well.

    • Dave says:

      Interesting how I claim not to believe any of this stuff, but was still waiting anxiously for your reply. I’d just hate to see such a good story spoiled right at the end. (Unless there’s another twist coming?…)

  3. Sweet! So the so called curse was lifted hey? And so far you find it boring and thinking to take it all back, geez! you’re hard to please hey, I wonder if God or Buddha or the Universe or whatever it is out there will be happy to answer your prayers. You are so fickle minded. Maybe they all need to have some close door conference altogether to think about what they should do to you.

    • Oliver says:

      The world is safe!

      Things may get a little boring, but being chased by life-threatening disasters isn’t as fun as it sounds. Not half as fun as spending a week at an elephant park… hello, next week!

      • Now you’re good with that thinking, I’m happy for you! Well, you have tons of reasons to enjoy life so stop worrying a lot! Anyway, how are you? Don’t miss out Philippines, you’ll be missing a LOT if you do, believe me!

  4. Jemma says:

    Ooh it’s kind of spooky how so many people tried to stop you from going to the temple! Agents of the devil i say!

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