Time patrol, Bangkok

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“Morning Scotty. I see the title generator is back up.”

“Yes, Captain. What are our orders for today?”

“Bangkok, 1957 and 2018.”

“Sixty years and change, Sir? That will require some fine tuning.”

“Don’t remind me of the sixty bl..dy years my friend. Fine tuning is your area, Scotty. All aboard!”

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Royal palace, Bangkok. 1957. We lived in Cambodia in ’56-57. My parents went to Bangkok for a business meeting. My mother wielded her 8mm camera. My father shot the first slides that were coming into the market. I’ve known those pictures (and the movies) all my life. Until I went to Asia at the end of the year. Back to my “roots”?

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Royal palace. January 2018. I literally stood in my father’s footsteps. Bordering the staircase are two Naga gods, the cosmic multi-headed serpent. We will see many of those in South-East Asia.

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Singhapanorn, 2018.This chimera, half bird, half woman appears to be a character of the Ramayana. The Hindu 27,000 versesย  epic poem I have already mentioned. All through South-East Asia one can find the influences of India (and China). I have a feeling I will have to read the Ramayana… Haven’t read War and peace yet, for its length. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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Bangkok, 1957. I missed that one.

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Bangkok 1957…

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And 2018. Same place. Different perspective. Note the exquisite details on the first “stupa”.

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1957. I was truly amazed when I compared this old slide, and the new shot (I did not remember this particular “painting”):

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2018.

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The Chao Praya river is magnificent. No great city can be complete without a river. This one meanders through the city. With boats at full speed. There are few bridges, so one takes small ferries to cross. A few baths.

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Chao Praya river, 1957. Despite the poor quality of the slide, I suspect this shows the Wat Arun temple on the West bank. Squint and you will see a pointed temple in the centre.

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Wat Arun temple is possibly the most beautiful of all of Bangkok’s temples and palaces. No gold, but a fascinating attention to detail. (I will probably dedicate an entire post to Wat Arun). Speaking of crossed influences, the bearded guardian with a sword, bottom centre is definitely Chinese. While…

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… while the demons or deities supporting the temple come from Ramayana. 2018. Wat Arun dates back to the 17th century. At least. And to further the “fusion” process, it is a Buddhist temple.

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Bangkok Khlong. 1957. In those days, most of the city consisted of canals (the khlongs) where people lived in houses on pillars and moved around in boats. Most of the Khlongs have been filled, but not all.

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Khlong Bang Luang. 2018. Taken from the Artist’s house. One of my favourite places in Bangkok. It is an old wooden house, renovated where puppet performances are held, featuring, again, characters of the Ramayana. A special post will be done on the Artist house.

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Khlong. 1957. Note the particular shape of the straw hats on the women. Each region, country had its particular shape and style of hats. Sorry to say baseball caps are now in much greater use.

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Khlong Bang Luang. 2018. One can find the same boats all the way South to the island of Koh Lanta, near Malaysia. The shape has remained pretty much the same. A truck engine has been added at the back, with a very long axis supporting the helix. Deafening. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Puppets at the Artist house. Those and many others are used by dancers in a once a day performance in the house’s “garden”, opposite the canal. (Just make sure there will be a representation, before going. There was not the day we went. Have to go back.)

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Artist house. 2018. One of many striking masks. Don’t know who this particular character is. How long does it take to read 27,000 verses?

Khop khun krab… Thank you for hopping around on Equinoxio Timelines. The 3 syllables are elongated. A sort of drawl. And gender differentiated. A woman will say Khop khun kha(aaaa). To which you will respond Kraaaab if you’re a man, khaaaa if you’re a woman. Thai are so polite one hears kraaab and khaaa all the time. A lovely music.

 

54 thoughts on “Time patrol, Bangkok

  1. Love the detail. It is sad that the attention to details on buildings and objects has gone away in favor of faster and cheaper. We lose a lot of style that way. Wonderful trip. Hugs

    • Yes, I think it is a matter of cost. There is no way one could budget building the same temple with thousands of workers placing millions of porcelain on the walls. There is a pic that shows the amount of detail I will post soon. Cheers.

    • Thank you. I just realized I have circled the world now. All the way back to Cambodia. There will be more about history past and present. Have a lovely week-end Jenny.

  2. I had decided that i don’t really like Bangkok art – the cat-like creatures with the long tails wearing some sort of helmet, but the Naga gods and the temple sculptors are pretty spectacular.

    Thanks for the trip. Always enjoyable. Unfortunately I mislaid my sunglasses and a historical icon I stole from one of the earlier trips. Could you have one of the cleaners check down the side of the seats for me? At the very least see if someone has handed them in.

    • My pleasure. I just realized that I have completed – short by a few miles – my tour around the globe. Cambodia had been the farther East I’d been. As a child. With the Asia trip in December-January I’ve completed the circle. Wow. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Wow, fantastic! You should now come to this part of the world for an extensive tour of South Africa…not Cape Town ,where tourists go, but to the more remote places.

      • Well, I would have to go Cape Town to see my cousin. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then to the remote places. ๐Ÿ˜‰
        But, to be true, I’m not sure I will ever come back to Africa. (I already did once) I would be afraid to see all the degradation. I used to be so beautiful.

  3. Love the sepia river photo the most! Such atmosphere in that picture.
    How was it to stand in your father’s footsteps in front of the Royal palace, so many years later? Did it live up to your “memories” from seeing those slides?

    • The sepia photo is great. Current colours. All those photos are fading away. Good thing I have 95% digitalized. ๐Ÿ™‚
      A nice feeling. Like “going home” of sorts. It is always interesting to retrace the steps of people you’ve known. And loved. I was also very aware that my parents had the place for themselves. Nothing like the current hordes of – well-intentioned – tourists. Such crowds. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hehe, I placed a search for Sighapanorn and the Duck brought up your blog at sixth place. Not bad, mon ami. ๐Ÿ™‚
    However, that creature, according to Himmapan, is a mixture between monkey and lion. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Impressive architecture, always liked it.
    Life on the khlongs must’ve been tough but maybe had its beauty too.
    So much history in this world, so many interesting, fascinating things to discover and yet most of us barely manage to catch a glimpse of that through other people’s “lenses” – if we’re luckyโ€ฆ

    • 6th place?! Haha.
      Life on the khlongs? No running water to begin with. Toilets? In the water. And then draw the same water for cooking and washing… Things have improved quite a bit. Yes, there are so many layers in this world. Glad to share a few. A bientรดt

  5. Wow, wonderful post and photos!

    Love all the photos from 1957, especially the Sepia Bangkok Khlong photo. Sadly, Thailand has changed so much even from when I first visited in 1985. I can only imagine the enormous changes since 1957.

    Each time I return, a little of the culture and beauty is stripped away whether through tourism, greed, or progress. It happens everywhere I guess…

    • It does happen everywhere. I’m not sure I will ever return to Africa for that reason. I will most probably return to Asia. Got the bug. And as for ’57, you should see my mother’s films… I’m having trouble digitalizing them with the appropriate quality, but I will some day. Cheers.

      • I solo-backpacked through Africa for 2 months back in 1985 (not sure if I mentioned that) and would love to return one day. Mongolia but more of China would be pretty cool to see. Yeah well, my mother used to have boxes of films and photos – our family’s history. Then when she passed away, my brother took everything to the tip. I was devastated! I guess history doesn’t mean all that much to some people. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      • “To the tip”? Is that Australian for rubbish? Is there a death penalty in the Land of Oz?
        ’85 in africa was still relatively all right. But today? Not so sure. My daughters went to Kenya and Zanzibar a few years back. Loved it. Daughter #1, an MD, actually spent a year in Africa on Mรฉdecins sans frontiรจres missions in Tchad and Kenya. She loved Kenya. Who doesn’t?

      • Yes, indeed it is – sorry for the colloquialism. In this instance, I wish there was!
        Apartheid was quite confronting for me as was the poverty. As my first real OS trip from Oz and quite green, it certainly was an eye opener.
        I didn’t get to Kenya but I’m sure it’s stunning.

      • Yup. And now that we’ve made the 30 hours trip to Asia, I might well re-do that to Australia. Always been curious about the place. And definitely would learn something new.

      • All the time and hope you’re not one of those travellers that checks every country off their list in a fleeting moment. Too many places and only a lifetime in which to experience them all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • No. Not one of those. Too many countries and places. I’d rather be selective. And sometimes go back. Case in point: Italy. And I will definitely go back to Asia. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Now on the other hand, a cousin of mine goes back to Venice every year for the summer. He rents a house there. A few blocks away for the madding crowd. Happily.

      • That’s because I haven’t got around to digitising all my journals and having hard enough time keeping up with what I’m currently doing.
        Landed in Harare, Vic Falls, travelled by bus and train down through Botswana, Pretoria, and ‘Suddafrica’. Passed through Lesotho and Swaziland. Took two months and if I hadn’t had a 3-week tour booked in Europe, I would have stayed twelve months in Africa. Loved it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Digitising is very time-consuming. When one my brothers came to visit, we scanned all the family albums which I have. But it took me 3-4 years to sort all the pix.
        You have gone to “southeast Africa”. Certainly very nice. I think you would love East Africa.

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