A morning walk, Bangkok

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Security guard at the Palace. The pay is good but the uniform heavy.

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Glamour.

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Commuting.

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Bangkok art and culture museum.

 

War. 1914. 1939. The centre has very fine modern art and had an expo with photos of the late King Bhumibol, who was a keen photographer.

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The delicacy of Wat Arun temple.

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The Jim Thompson House. Thompson was born in Delaware in 1906. A WWII vet, he was at one time stationed in Bangkok and returned after the war to open a Thai silk design and printing business. He built a house which is still a landmark, designed in the traditional way. You are to take your shoes off before entering the house, a polite rule spreading all across S.E. Asia. Rooms are separated by a “step” so demons cannot cross the door. (Same applies in the temples of Angkor).

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A woodblock for printing silk. Jim Thompson’s house welcomed many a celeb, film directors, actors during the sixties. He disappeared on a walk in the forest in Malaysia in 1967. At the height of the Vietnam war. No-one knows what happened to him. Some say he was a CIA operative. Maybe he was, the fact is, in those days, many expats “helped” their Secret Services. Giving information on the local context, politics and politicians. My father, as the Air France Director for the country or the region in Africa was approached by the French Deuxième Bureau. He would send notes to Paris based on the local news and gossip. Was he a spy? No. 😉

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In the series “Loos of the world”, at Bitterman, Bangkok.

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Alien sprouts.

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Monitor lizard at the park. At least 5 ft I would say…

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The Bangkok art scene. Creativity in Asia is amazing.

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Dirty Forty Amber Ale.

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Coca Cola then.

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Coca Cola now. I have already mentioned the “Short Index” as a measure of women’s freedom and urban tranquility. Lots of shorts in Bangkok, Penang, Singapore.

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Yet, tradition is maintained. At the Jim Thompson’s house. “Barefoot girls dancing in the” daylight. (See Green river by Credence)

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Yaksha demon guardian.

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Yet another example of the delicacy of Thai art. Wat Arun temple.

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Absolutely no admittance. Authorized demons only.

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My Lord Buddha in position 179th, that of the convenient siesta. Which I’m off to after lunch.

Kop khun kraaaap, thank you for flying Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

86 thoughts on “A morning walk, Bangkok

    • It’s interesting how others see what one tries to communicate. You may be right about the pop art influence. (I grew up with pop art). And I like the vision that distant art or ads give us back on a culture. Thank you Rebecca.

  1. I get a kick out of your sense of humor. Heavy armor, your spy father, absolutely no admittance. Hey, I have not heard that about a threshold between rooms to keep the demons out. I read a post a long time ago by a woman of Vietnamese heritage, and she was poking fun about all the superstitions in Vietnamese traditions. I wonder if it’s the same for Thai traditions?

    • I’ve seen the threshold in Cambodia too. I don’t know if that is the case in Vietnam. I know that over there, in Nam, when my mother showed my baby sister to Vietnamese they would all say: “What an ugly baby! Compliments”. My mother was: “What?” and they explained that you should not say “such a lovely baby” because the demons would become jealous and make the baby sick… 🙂

      • OMG that’s hilarious. Like “break a leg.”

        My weekend has been great so far. Finished building a pen for my new baby chickens so they can grow up safe from the adult hens. (and also get out of the house – phew!) Today they went into their new home for the first time. I guess I should blog it.

      • You should blog it. Such things remind me of my grandfather in Brittany. He had chickens and rabbits. 🙂
        Could you sort out the contractor’s humongous bill for the kitchen?

      • I guess it’s sorted out somewhat. I wrote a detailed letter listing the invoice items, line by line, pointing out all the mistakes and reasons why I disagreed, and I sent the letter with a check for what I believed to be the remaining balance. I also sent a copy to the company’s parent office. After a month I got a letter back, knocking $10 thousand off the price, no questions asked, and asking for a new balance of a few thousand more. I’m very relieved that they didn’t take me to court, and I’ll likely just pay what they’re asking now, to have it over and done with.

  2. Ooh, but maybe your father WAS a spy?! Have you ever seen the tv drama series Pan Am, set in the airline’s early days? Probably not, it was a pretty girlie series. Anyway, it has a spying plot – blended with the airline business. Now my imagination is sparked! 😁 btw, I think I’ve seen a documentary on that Jim Thompson house. Does it have an enormous, exotic garden? The documentary was about the garden, to be precise! 😊

    • The garden is precious.
      Pan Am? I didn’t want to watch it. Sort of too close to my own history and memories. I have known Pan Am and TWA representatives. I have flown both. Sad that they’re gone. 😦
      And I do not doubt one second that some did some intelligence work.
      My father? He was not on payroll. But I did meet his handler once. 🙂

  3. A fascinating photo essay! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think the photo that will stay with me is “Commuting.” Black-and-white was the right decision for it.

    • Photo essay? Is that what it is? 🙂
      I really put together 15 photos and then write. 😉
      But I am flattered by the term. Thank you.
      Agreed on B&W. Works better.
      And you may be right, my posts tend to be a description of the reality I see. e.g. Bangkok in this case.
      Thanks for the visit and comment.
      Have a great week Liz.
      Brian

      • I taught critical inquiry and portfolio assessment of experiential learning for a number of years. In January, I transitioned back to teaching the writing process, which is my first love.

      • I had to look both up. Very interesting concepts. Even more so as I was in Market research and consulting for years. I guess I was doing a little bit of both… 🙂
        Always return to your first love. That’s it’s first. 😉

      • I believe you Liz. That’s a very interesting concept. MR is a transfer, though I had not thought of it that way. I did see it as a transfer of “knowledge” to the Marketing team or company head. “here’s your strategy. Here’s what the consumer understood.” Sometimes I saw myself as the consumer’s advocate. 🙂

  4. Right, that monitor lizard would’ve scared the beejesus out of me. I still have a safety bulletin from work, coming from Bangkok airport, showing a python (or some other big ass snake) curled up between the two nose wheels of a plane… The lizard looks like its cousin.

  5. Aside from the diversity, juxtaposition of old and new, what stands out is also the symmetry and repetitive patterns across cultural influence s. The human tendency to look for order and pattern, perhaps.

  6. Dear Brian, lovely photo-walk in Bangkok. The Palace and the security guard are pretty fantastic, so it the woodblock. Do you find a blend of traditional and contemporary culture the norm?

    • I found it a norm of sorts in Asia. What I call “Fusion” of modernity (the West) and tradition (Asia). It seems to me they have managed it far better than any other culture I know.
      And it seems to me a promising path to development. A blend. Take the best from old and new and move forward. Some figures (e.g. GDP per capita) seem to prove that. Plus the work ethic that is very strong in Asia.

      • Thank you, Brian, for your informative reply. Shame more cultures don’t do the following, “Take the best from old and new and move forward.” I find this statement prevalent here, “This is the way we’ve always done it.” A mind-blowing roadblock to forward movement.

  7. Great walk, great series of photos. You are 100% correct when you mention that “creativity in Asia is amazing.” They embrace the relatively new freedoms of creation and expression and it is something else to see. Cheers!

  8. Gosh, how I miss this city and SE Asia as a whole. Great coverage. That street art piece is one of my favorites. It was created by Thai street artists to mourn King Bhumibol. Each artist contributed their (now) world famous signature characters to the piece in various states of inconsolable sadness. There used to be a giant street piece of the King next to it but I think it was painted over after the mourning period for Bhumibol ended in October 2017

    • We have indeed put our steps in many of the same streets Lisa. Didn’t see the giant street piece though.
      I too miss Asia. The more I look at other places the more I see the future of humankind in Asia.
      Fair winds.

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