We sat at a picnic table with a young novice monk named Boi who was 19 years old and was about to decide whether to continue as a full monk or not.
We asked Boi about Buddha and his daily routine. He told us how he had to wake up every day at 5:00 a.m. to collect alms and pray and study. He also explained how monks cannot eat past noon and they can only eat the food that is collected as alms (offerings by the common people in return for a spiritual blessing).
Boi came from a very poor village and being a novice monk provided him the opportunity to study English and teaching. He wore a bright orange robe (apparently the colour orange repels mosquitos) and his hair was shaved very closely so it was both easy to care for and to signify that monks were not be concerned about personal appearance.
We thanked Boi for speaking with us and educating us about his culture. He in turn thanked us for the chance to practice his English. He shook our hands, with the exception of Barb, as monks are not allowed to touch women.