Eskimo coming to Bangkok
] Five years ago Pazu travelled to Europe and met a Hong Kong girl named Eska (though we prefer to call her Eskimo) at the train station of Vienna. She was travelling with another friend named Winter. Since then we kept in touch ocasionally and went camping together in Hong Kong. Eskimo had only 3 days of holiday, to Winter's envy, she missed Pazu very very very (x N) much and came to visit him in Bangkok.
This is Eskimo, she was a bit reluctant to pose for pictures. "I think you're going to put my pics on your website!" Eskimo asked Pazu. Pazu answered, "Well... of course!" (The big billboard at the back is an ad of True Internet, taken in Siam Paragon.)
Sawatdii ka to Mr Ronald.
And we also visited the Wat Pho, saw the reclining buddha.
Some murals on the wall inside the same temple.
And Eskimo changed 20 baht to 25-satang coins (one baht = 100 satang), put them each into the monks' bowl as an offering.
Again, the same temple! We also visited the Temple of Dawn and Chinatown, but Pazu didn't take too much photos. Eskimo stayed in Bangkok for only 3 days, went back to Hong Kong on 23 March.
Ta Prom Brahma
] Besides the political impasse, Thailand was once again on the international news when a described to be mentally-deranged hammered the much-revered statue of Ta Prom (Brahma), at the compound of Hyatt Erawan Hotel of Bangkok. Then man was beaten to death immediately after the incident by about 30 people, yet the police caught two street sweepers accusing them of murder. Some strange points on the newspaper these days about this incident:
- Some foreign news agency claimed that the man who hammered the Ta Prom was a muslim, making it sound like a religious conflict. But none of the Thai newspaper ever mentioned it. Wonder where Reuters (etc) got this piece of information.
- Astrology forsees bloodshed, reported the Nation."The incident portends that something bad will happen. If the upcoming general election goes ahead, bad things will happen," said Surattaphong Suwannarat, from the Astrological Association of Thailand (AAT).
- Sondhi Limthongkul, the media tycoon who was also one of the main drive-force of the recent anti-Thaksin protest, said that he knew some people who were very superstitution and believed that by building a new Ta Prom statue and secretly put in some of his own belongings inside would reverse one's luck. Then he said, "We have someone working in the government who's also very superstitutious..." Is he referring to the PM? But this accuse was just too groundless so most media ignored his remarks.
- A general said that the Ta Prom destroyed itself and edured the pain for the people in Thailand, so the future would be better soon.
Pazu took this pic of Ta Prom a few days before the destruction.
The statue was hammered, covered with while clothes.
Then now they open the site again, and covered the statue with four pictures facing 4 different directions. It seems that more Thais "wai" the site now because of this "state of emergency".
Another bike trip with TCC - Samut Prakan Province
] The Thailand Cycling Club has another trip on Sunday, this time we had a ride for 105km, not too hard but lesser people joined us this time. We went to Samut Prakan, the province just south of Bangkok Metropolis, the frontier of Thailand, bordering the Gulf of Thailand. Such a frontier must have some military significance and on the road we saw a lot of navy posts, and our destination is the Rama V warship museum.
The Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra may be bad, but he started an OTOP (One Tambon One Product) project a few years ago, it's a fair trade program promoting local products. This photo was taken in an OTOP shop, selling sweet shrimps. This relatively chubby lady said, "We put 4 kilos of shrimps and 2 kilos of sugar together and mix them for some time."
Pazu asked, "Why did Thais eat so much sugar?"
Oat answered, "Because they sweet-talk all the time." (mii bpaak waan).
This is the warship, second-hand from Japan, named after the Rama V King, now a museum.
We were inside the control room, everything seemed to be quite old, it has an history of about 60 years.
Kong junior was talking to the guys at the control room.
See the Japanese script on top of the control board?
Chubby naval lady.
A cannon post nearby, this naval officer showed us how to open the cannon, it's not easy, he said usually four people are required to perform this task.
Take a pic inside the cannon.
And another pic from the other side.
Oat tried to pick up the bullet, weighing about 50kg, it's not an easy job. Another cyclist uncle said with a laugh, "Be careful!! Don't drop it on the floor or it will explode, we will all die here!!"
This is actually, of course, an abondoned cannon. Blessed by the flower strips, a symbol of peace.
Everybody left the cannon room already except a few of us. Then Uncle Pig (Aa-muu, his name is really "pig", I'm not trying to be rude!) had an idea. He tried to follow the procedures that the naval officer showed us just ten minutes ago, and he opened the cannon. He was quite happy about this achievement.
But the problem was, he couldn't put it back. It took us quite a while to set the cannon back to the original position, and the naval officer was still busy leading other cyclists around so he didn't know, lucky for us!
The guy on the left who tried to kill Kong junior is Uncle Pig Foot (Aa-Kaki, again, this is his nickname, I'm really not trying to be rude!). Aa-Kaki is also a very active member of the Thailand Cycling Club, he has been very helpful all the time and Pazu felt very grateful to him... wait, but it doesn't mean that he could took the life of Kong junior!!! :E
Oat thought, "I'm the King of the World." ("Jao-nai-lok", try to ask a Thai friend the meaning of this... :P)
And of course we went to some temples, this is Wat Samut Chedi.
This is the chedi (a tower-liked structure). End of the trip.
Bike trip with TCC
] Pazu and Oat went to a bike trip organized by the Thailand Cycling Club on Sunday, but this time we went to Nonthaburi Province, sounds familiar? It's Oat's hometown, which is just outside Bangkok. We went to a temple, a bicyle museum, a temple again and yet another temple. Not really boring but it was less exciting than other previous trips. Total trip distance was only a mere of 34km, but we have more than 300 cyclists so some police came to help us to clear the road.
It was eight o'clock in the morning, everybody stopped to pay respect for the national athem.
The trip is going to begin, start from the Royal Garden.
This is the Bicycle House, with quite a big collection of bicycles, motorbikes and cars, including some dated back to 80 years ago, I wondered if the owner ever used everything.
And this is Mr Taweethai Boriboon, the owner of this bicycle museum. He seemed to be quite happy to see such a big group of cyclists coming to visit him, therefore he just kept talking... Pazu couldn't understand most of what he said however, he said, "I opened this house as a museum because I can have many opportunities to talk to many people." And he's also a very famous scriptor, some of his works can be found in the Wat Pra Kaew (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
It's a common practice in Thailand to mould famous monks as wax or golden figures, here's one of them.
Oh rot dit maak maak, rot dit maak maak. The traffic is jam, butter and bread.
We came here a few months ago with Pii Oil, but this is the first time we visited this temple with Oat so we took a pic too.
Oh this is silly, but here's a reflection of Pazu on the new pair of sunglasses of Oat.
A friend said it looked like a haunted house. The paper was a fortune-telling ticket, it showed that it would be extremely bad-luck, everything was "yin-yin-yin".
An abondoned bell.
This is the youngest cyclist of the day, people loved him so much and kept giving him encouragement. One guy said, "Oh ride it faster, ride faster, go racing in the SEA Games~!"
He's not the oldest cyclist of the day, but foot can still be sore for all ages.
And old painting from the temple, dated back to the Ayutthaya Period. Note that on the right hand side there's a face with an obvious features of a westerner. The guide said that it was quite evidently that foreigners visited Thailand hundreds years ago.
There was a small museum inside the temple, here's an old buddhist script.
And a Thai type-writer...
And not to miss it, of course, the portraits of the King and the Queen of todays.
] This may give you an impression that we were cheap charlies but I just wanted to let you know that the condensed milk in Big C had discounts from 10 - 28 March, buy one get one free. We used a lot of condensed milk for Vietnamese coffee (and Oat had an especially serious sweet tooth!), this was such a good bargain that we couldn't afford to miss, so we bought these
. Also because we hadn't played Lego for quite a long time so here was another chance.
You can see this silly scene in action, the movie file can be downloaded here, in MP4 format
] This is Air whom Pazu met on the Lonely Planet forum, she speaks English so well that Pazu couldn't believe she was Thai when they talked by phone for the first time ... well, not to say that Thais couldn't speak good English, but staying with Oat almost all the time, it's easy to assume just this. :P
Remembered Pazu missed his flight to Vietnam a month ago and met two friends at the airport? Actually Air was there too, she said she saw two guys rushing around, seemingly too busy to be disturbed so she didn't say hello.
She's busy packing for her trip to Nepal, a solo trip. Pazu hasn't seen any Thais travelling alone. "Oh yes, I just lied to my parents that I would go with some friends..." Air said with a chuckle.
This is Air. Pazu took this pic and said, "I will put it on my website!" Air was surprised, "Oh really? Do you want to put up my phone number and email address too?" Pazu thought about it seriously but Air then said, "Just kidding, hehe." If you want her email address, send me yours and I will forward it to her.
] The recent rally and protest to support and denounce the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra attracted quite a lot of concern from the world, but Bangkok remained to be quite peaceful indeed. The protest happened at Sanam Luang, very near to our home, we wanted to go taking pictures one night but we met another group of cyclists outside Sanam Luang, so we cycled together and went the other way. The trip was nothing special so I just put a photo here.
(Pazu, Oat, Pii Jiap... sorry I forgot the others' names.)
] Every temple in Thailand has their own specific festival, to celebrate the birthday of the temple or a revered monk. This is Wat Intaraviharn near Rama VIII Bridge, that we went before. Recently they have a big celebration and the street leading to this temple were lighted with neons, packed with lots of hawkers and foodstalls. One of the major functions of this festival was to let pilgrims to "make merit" (tam buun), ie donating money, the total sum of money raised was written on a whiteboard inside the temple everyday (for a total of ten days), they raised about 3 to 4 hundred thousands baht a day, this temple must be popular.
We took a picture of this Standing Buddha a few days ago, it looked even better at night.
Thais love putting gold leaf on buddha statues, so where's the best place to put the gold leaf? Answer: Back of buddha. Reason: "Bpuat thong lang pra" is a saying meaning "put the gold at the back of buddha", do merit without letting others know, I guess it's the same to put some on the foot...