Wednesday, 9 December 2009

One Night in Bangkok

Here come the holiday snaps!

Actually we spent about 3 days in Bangkok, and that's pretty much all I saw of Thailand on my holiday before moving on to other countries, but I thought I'd start with those photos. Above, some Christmas lights and dayglo taxis. It is so weird seeing tropical countries put on the Xmas trappings, complete wih Santas and snowscapes.

Bangkok is bloody huge. I mean, enormous. It's a rising financial centre and boy does it show: high-tech new buildings are bursting out of the grimy lo-rise wherever you look. They've got a skytrain, which slightly mitigates the worst traffic jams in human history. Just being there is weirdly exciting: you can see them rushing forward into the new millennium at breakneck speed. Think Blade Runner. In fact, it's a salutory lesson that the future is not British: it's not even going to be White, lol.

But most of my photos are of the Old Stuff. Here's the gigantic Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho.

We saw a lot of Buddhas in all three countries we visited! And a lot of monks. The way it works is that most men become monks in their teens, for a minimum of 3 months, in order to earn merit for their parents. This allows the boys to learn meditation and discipline (and is a bloody good idea, in my opinion - we should introduce it here). They also get an education (and avoid military service!). Our tour guides in Thailand and Laos had been monks for years.

Here's a shot of one of the buildings in the Royal Palace, but honestly the picture does not do it justice: this structure is so bright and colourful it is physically painful to look at: the painted walls are studded with multi-coloured glass tiles and gilded, and under the midday sun it makes your eyes bleed. The most bling place I've ever seen!

Here's one of  the many mythological subjects used in statuary: half-woman, half-bird, and completely kinky.

Coming up ... Laos.


Wintersinger said...

Very cool! Thai demons and mythology are all kinds of awesome, aren't they?

And yes, I now have that song stuck in my head. Probably will all day long.


Janine Ashbless said...

Heh heh heh...
That was mean of me, wasn't it?

Madeline Moore said...

Oh God the memories. I lived in Khon Kaen, Thailand for almost two years. Naturally, Bangkok was the city we travelled to (on a train, with berths, overnight) for fun and shopping and so on.

And I could go on and on. But I want YOU to go on and on, Janine.
I am lovin' your latest tour.

px - half woman and half bird - but but - that tail belongs to neither?

Janine Ashbless said...

I want to hear more, Madeline! Seeing the capital city alone gives you such a distorted picture of a country - London is not England, after all. I'd love to go back to Thailand and see the more rural bits. But I want to avoid the backpacking Yoof and their all-nigh beach raves too, so maybe that'll remain a pipedream, *sigh*

billierosie said...

Your photos are wonderful, Janine! What a fantastic adventure! I particularly like the Reclining Buddha. Can't wait to see more of them!

Emerald said...

What cool pictures! I was especially delighted by the first one. Day-glo taxis! (I seem to have a thing for bright colors....)

"Seeing the capital city alone gives you such a distorted picture of a country - London is not England, after all."

Whoa, I hadn't even really thought about this in general — but as soon as I read it I realized I live right outside the U.S. capital and definitely would not consider it representative of the U.S. as a whole. What an interesting point.

Thanks for sharing, Janine!

neve black said...

Oooh, I think it was a 1/2 woman, 1/2 bird beastly-like erotic writer that whispered in my ear about your trip pictures being up.

How wonderful!

I'm so excited that you got to go, Janine. Very exciting.