During the drive across to Mae Hong Son, Sak reveals that he had a dream the night before, about the numbers ‘9 9’ and a third number that was about to be revealed to him, but the dream ended. If he can find this number, and find a lottery ticket that have this combination, and if he prays enough and makes merit in enough temples, he may win the big prize! As I want to walk round the market (where there are many lottery ticket sellers) and see the temples anyway, this works out well for both of us. He finds the missing number by seeing it in association with ‘9 9’ in various locations. He won’t tell me the other number – it might break the luck – but I suspect it’s a third 9.
Later, sitting in a restaurant, I happen to look up and see written in pencil on one of the beams – maybe a constructor’s mark – three number 9s! That settles it. So we visit practically every temple in town and make merit (mostly this means buying flowers and candles and bowing to Buddha images). In one there is a sign that says that anyone can pray for good luck, but only if they are sincere. He bows to the image that represents Friday, his day of birth, and gets me to do the same to Sunday’s, which is mine, going through a certain ritual with the candles and flowers. He urges me to think of what good thing I would like to happen to me. It felt like blowing out the birthday candles as a kid. Well, I wished that Sak wins the lottery: I’ve been lucky enough. I would sincerely like him to win, and he believes so sincerely that it seemed the only right thing to do. For good measure, we also feed the carp in the lake: being good to animals is also a good thing. Then, in the night market, Sak finds the exact lottery ticket number he’s looking for! Will it all work? We will have to wait for the draw on Friday to find out!