Saturday, February 12, 2011

Night Photos, Part 13: Royal Garden Mall Christmas

Evidently it was still Christmas in Thailand last month. Christmas trees stood proudly in shops and malls, heavily strung with festive lights, festooned with colorful ornaments and a dusting of - well, dust. I saw them in the lobbies of hotels, in the waiting areas of massage parlors and one somewhat weather-worn one on the beach. I even saw one in the working area of a motorcycle repair shop, lights blinking as the sparks flew from a grinder at work on a bent frame.

There's a 1934 movie song called "June in January", and I thought of it a few times this last trip while out walking, amused at the disparity between the actual holiday and the the decorations for it. If you heard someone singing it while taking pictures, that was probably me.

As planned, I did a lot more night photography than on previous trips, and had even armed myself with a tripod from TukCom the day I arrived. However, time constraints and health didn't allow me to get many pictures at Royal Garden and Central Malls in Pattaya or the Spring things at Siam Paragon, but I did get the above shot (actually two, stitched) of the thousands of LEDs cascading down one side of Royal Garden, with the Ripley's "Believe It Or Not" museum plane embedded above the main entrance. It's an interesting juxtaposition of festivity and disaster, I think.

Back here at home it's not at all unusual to see houses with Christmas lights on them year-round; strings of faux icicles, hanging haphazardly from the eaves of homes and sometimes actually still on at night well into Spring, so I probably shouldn't have been too surprised. However, I live in a country that's overwhelmingly Christian (primarily by name only - you wouldn't know it the majority of the time by the actions of most folks), and Thailand observes Christmas more as an affectation than a real holiday.

So, here it was in the Land of Smiles: the end of January, and the Christmas decorations were beginning to share space with the Chinese New Year lanterns, dragons and cardboard bunnies. It was a hoot!


Anonymous said...

bao-bao, hello...

I enjoy reading your Blog, regarding taking photos, how do you feel about carrying your camera around the streets? What I mean is, last time I was in Bangkok I had my old Point And Shoot Digital Camera which being small, I felt safe carrying it around with me, once I had taken a pic i would slip it back inside my shorts pocket out of sight.

I have now bought a larger DSLR type Camera which will NOT fit in my pockets so therefore will be around my neck while outdoors. I have no intentions of walking down some dodgy back alley so I'm just wondering, considering how many photos you have taken, have you ever felt uneasy carrying an expensive piece of kit around?


khunbaobao said...

There have only been a couple of occasions over a total of 14 extended stays in Thailand that I've felt uncomfortable carrying my camera and things around. I'll remind you that I don't have a larger camera, so it does fit into a small waist pack, but I suppose it much like I mentioned in the baht bush pickpocket post: be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.

I was warned before my first trip not to go waving a video camera around that was worth what people near me made in a year, and I've remembered that.

If I have my camera out (which is a lot of the time) I tend to keep the strap bunched up and the camera held close to my body. Not to be paranoid, just to be cautious and keep it somewhat discreet.

An SLR may have a higher perceived value to a thief thinking of fencing it, though.

I'll share a rule of thumb I use: if I can't afford to lose/replace it, I don't carry it around with me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply.

With the quality of your photos I presumed you were using an expensive DSLR, the quality of your photos are great. I especially like the " night shots ".

Fantastic Blog

All the best.

khunbaobao said...

My pleasure - thanks for asking. The fun for me here is in the sharing: pictures, ideas, thoughts. I appreciate the comment. Chime in any time!