On Saturday while we were eating lunch at The Kitchen (turns out its name in Thaimeans something like "Kitchen Full of Delicious Food") our friend Eh showed up and told us about the Yi Peng festival happening that evening in Mae Jo, just north of town. We'd heard about it, but weren't sure when it happened, so we called up our friend LB, and headed out. Yi Peng means "second moon" in Northern Thai Dialect, meaning that the festival happens on the second month of the Thai lunar year. Or the third. Or the twelfth. I haven't found a reliable source yet. It is the Lanna variant of Loi Krathong, the Thai festival of lights, and involves letting loose thousands of lantern balloons after a day of making merit with the Lord Buddha.
The next day after church we went to Wat Umong to see what the Monk Chat was like. For two hours each Sunday a British monk makes himself available for two hours for people to come and ask him questions. He seemed nice, and sincere, and had some good answers to some pretty dumb questions. There is an abundance of cheap Buddhism here in Thailand. The visit was LB's idea, and she was pretty disappointed. She made a good point about people who grow up with no religious community around them, so they end up searching for anything, and when they find something they don't know when to keep their mouth shut about their personal business.
So we went and looked at the fish pond instead. I was expecting a pond full of carp, but instead it was full of huge plecostomus and catfish, which people were feeding bread and food pellets.
Plecostomus are algae-eaters, and their mouths aren't adapted to surface feeding. So they make weird behavioral adaptations to compensate, like swimming backwards while pointing up, hoping a pellet will get pulled into their mouth, or pinning a piece of bread to the wall and sucking on it.
Meanwhile, the catfish seem to have no trouble with their huge vacuum cleaner mouths. Almost makes you want to stick your hand in there.