Royal palace, Bangkok. 2018. It’s already been two years since we went on our Asia trip. From Singapore to Malaysia to Thailand to Cambodia. I must say my feet are itching to go back. Meanwhile, some views of Bangkok. Sawadeekraap…
Klong or canal, facing the Artist’s house. Bangkok used to be a water city. Now many of the canals have been filled, turned into roads with thousands of roaring vehicles… Mind the tuk-tuks…
Celebration on the klongs. Photo by HRH the Late King Bhumibol. The King was a keen photographer. This comes from an expo at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok.
Buddha statue at Jim Thompson’s House, Bangkok. Jim Thompson, born in 1906 in Delaware was in the OSS during WWII. (The OSS later became the CIA). After the war, Thompson returned to Asia, settled in Thailand and built a successful silk business. His house was reconstructed with material from old traditional Thai houses and filled with Asian art. International artists, writers and politicians were frequent guests at his house. He disappeared mysteriously on a walk in the forest in Malaysia in 1967. The Viet-Nam war was already raging. Was he an American CIA agent? No-one knows.
Chinese vase, Jim Thompson house. I could easily find a place for that in our house…
Wood carving, Jim Thompson house. Another piece I wouldn’t mind having at home. Of course the visit is barefoot. A widespread custom in Asia. Take your shoes off when you enter a house. (Scandinavians and Canadians tend to do that too). The doors between rooms have a horizontal board set on the floor, as a “step” of sorts. We were told this was to stop demons from entering the rooms. One sees the same “steps” separating rooms in the temples at Angkor. (Watch out when you visit.)
Demon or guardian at the Royal Palace. (Note, it may have been in another of the palaces or temples in or next to the Royal Palace). Do admire the exquisite detail of the painting and the costumes. See the animal heads on the shoulders, knees and shoe?
“Thai zebra” at a street altar, Bangkok. One can find such altars everywhere on the streets. Decorated with elephants, statues of my Lord Buddha, or others… I understand it serves to pray on the spur of the moment… Buy a few incense sticks, go through the motions and voilà. Cleansed. At peace.
Royal Palace again. (Men, make sure to wear trousers, shorts are not accepted. They will make you buy ill-fitting trousers for a small fortune in Bhats. Women have to wear a sarong and cover their shoulders.) I believe this character is a representation of a Portuguese sailor/merchant. Remember the Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach that far into Asia, around the 1400’s-1500’s. (Need to go back to Asia to check my facts…)
Royal Palace again. I believe those are scenes of the Ramayana. Or the life of Buddha? Ramayana is an Indian epic poem that spread all the way to Indonesia. Note the “plebe”‘s submissive posture: one can only approach the King or the Gods kneeling. Though Thailand is a Buddhist nation, the Kings use the formal name of King Rama. Rama was a major King (myth or real) in ancient India. He is considered an avatar of Vishnu. His story is told in the Ramayana.
Detail, Royal Palace. Not sure what the two characters are doing? Throwing arrows or flowers at each other?
Beers of the world series. When in Asia, do try Singha. Quite decent.
Wat Arun, Bangkok. For all its gold and glory, the Royal Palace, to me, is no match to the splendor of Wat Arun. Across the Chao Praya river from the Palace, it is a temple entirely covered with porcelain. Imagine the millions of hours of dedicated craftsmanship that went into its decoration:
Detail, Wat Arun.
Royal barge of Thailand, Bangkok, 1956. My parents had gone to Bankgok in 1956, when we were “stationed” in Cambodia. They brought back magnificent movies, photos, first slides in the market, a brand new technology then. In 2018 when I went “back” to Bangkok, we walked and walked and walked to the barges site/museum. Only to see it from a distance across a large tributary of the Chao Praya river, with no direct way to cross over… Streets and bridges layout in Bankgok may have been designed by Hanuman, Rama’s mischievous Monkey King friend. So you’ll have to settle for this 60-something year-old slide.
Happy Chinese New Year. May the year of the Rat start with a Banksy Bang.
Khop-khun-kraap, thank you, for flying with Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle.