Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The last photo today may give you the impression that there was about to be a monkey BBQ, but strangely enough I saw hundreds of them skittering along and around the ball of snakes that passes for Thai electrical wiring without getting electrocuted. My guess is it was learned behavior after seeing some who were a bit too curious.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Although the guy below wasn't really smiling I thought he had nice eyes, so I'm including it.
In the previous post from the series (on the 23rd) there was a group of kids in a park in Udonthani taken after they'd seen me taking the shot of the two kids below. Since they kind of go together I'm posting it today.
The last photo is of a friend's cousin up in Isaan. Since kids are the best subjects it seemed like a fitting close for today.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This clip was taken from a suite on the 65th floor of the Le Bua State Tower Hotel back in October of last year. You can see the Saphan Taksin bridge crossing the Chao Phraya river at the beginning and then it pans to the left, looking towards the Gulf of Thailand. That annoying scraping sound is my lens cap on the balcony railing, sorry!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Despite the cautionary tales I’d read online and heard from others we breezed right through our Immigration procedures - having our passports stamped and receiving our visas good for the standard 30-day tourist visit. Our luggage arrived soon after we got to the claim area, snaking through the crowd on one of those twisting, turning lengths of plates that parade the bags around and around. I was traveling relatively light, but I did have gifts for a few friends there; something I've continued to do each trip since. It doesn't take much to show you've thought of someone, and it makes points with people there the same as it would anywhere.
We walked through customs in the “Nothing to Declare” line, along with a good 75% of the rest of the folks on our plane. All earlier apprehensions about electronics, cameras, my laptop and the overall bother of a “rummage-through-your-bags-just-for-the-hell-of-it” session drifted away as we pushed out carts out through the arriving passenger area of Terminal One to the main arrival gate.
I was so happy to see my friend standing at one side to greet us that when I spotted him in the waiting crowd I nearly veered my luggage cart directly over to him behind the low barrier at the edge of the queue to say hello. Just as well I didn’t as there were people with their own carts all around me and I probably would have crippled someone with mine in the process.
My friend had stayed late at his job not far from the airport to come meet us near . He seemed a little out of his element here but I understood why when I found out it was his first trip to the international terminal too – such is the nature of English/Thai communications! Here was a living example of what I’d read about Thai hospitality.
Eric and I pushed our baggage carts out through the terminal doors and felt the wall of warm, humid air hit us. It was past midnight, but the temperature was still in the mid-80s Fahrenheit - and the humidity was so high it made the air feel heavy.
At the curb outside our "host" flagged down a taxi to get us to the Asia Hotel where we’ll be for six nights. We had a difficult time explaining to him that a total of 7 pieces of luggage large and small plus four people was going to be a stretch in a small taxi, and unfortunately put him in the embarrassing situation of having to wave the driver off after he'd parked for us. We went back into the terminal lobby and rented a minibus to take us and our junk to the hotel at a cost of Bt1,000 - about $33USD today.
The young man behind the counter at the rental agency was as close to a kathoey as I’d seen so far. Kathoeys are are an accepted part of Thai society that we'll cover properly another time, but basically the term covers a wide variety of males considered to be the third sex: many gay, some transvestites, some living as females, some making a medical transformation to “become” female -
Once the luggage was safely loaded into the van and we were seated inside we finally had a chance to look around us and enjoy the ride out of the airport complex and onto the nearly-deserted, elevated toll expressway to the hotel. From as high up as it was it gave us a great panoramic view of the downtown skyline and night sky.
My body was howling for sleep by that point but my excitement hadn't flagged a bit as I yawned, gazed out at this new place and smiled out the window with satisfaction.
I'd made it. I was finally in Thailand!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It's actually more of a selection of "extras"; the sodas, beer and alcohol were in the small refrigerator below. You can see, however, the printed price list to the left of the basket - and again, everything here but their own branded bags of nuts (and maybe the map) can be found within a block for far less.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I like the shot above of the young man walking along the beach with the last of the sunset behind him. Although it was much darker to the naked eye, the longer camera exosure caught it.
I've never eaten at The Grill House - part of it is visible in the photo above - has anyone else? If so, leave a comment and let us know what you thought of it, will you? These pictures were taken close to Christmastime, so I expect there were extra lights on display.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Note Udom is a Thai comedian who does observational stand-up comedy much like you'd see performers do in Western countries. In the clip above he's sharing about his girlfriend wanting to break up with him, and speaks of many of the same points you may well have heard or experienced in a past relationship yourself. I know I've gotten the "let's just be friends" line!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
There's a proverb that is usually attributed to one African tribe or another that goes "It takes a village to raise a child." I've recently seen it credited to the Nigerian Igbo proverb "Ora na azu nwa", which means it takes the whole community or village to raise a child, but the origin isn't as important here as the thought is.