Bangkok and day trips, December 2015

Artist house 

   
The Artist House is a beautiful workshop and performance space housed in a centuries-old wooden house on a canal in Bangkok. ‘The Venice of Thailand’, by the way, has an extensive canal network with bus-like public transport boats. At the Artist House, hey perform puppet shows in the traditional style almost as if they are ceremonies. There is a 400 year old stupa, religious stone tower, behind the stage. 

   

  
We got there early so we could see the art gallery and explore a little. 

    
   
There are statues by the canal, and also a place to feed the hungry fish and birds. 

    
    
 Each puppet had three puppeteers who wore all black with masks and moved together. It was like a graceful prayer dance.  It could get silly, too, as the puppets came into the audience at one point. 

    
   


Chachoengsao

This was a short day trip that was disappointing in that we didn’t see any dolphins, but it was still interesting and close enough that we had time afterwards to go to the street fair (see below). This is not a popular tourist attraction, so it was a bit tricky to figure out. Several dolphin species, notably the strange-looking irawiddy, enter the Bang Pakong River from the Gulf of Thailand in November to February each year. We went to the town of Chachoengsao to look for them ourselves. We thought they came upriver to that town, but it was recommended to us by a local to go further south to where the river meets the gulf. We took a minivan for the 20-minute trip, then found a dolphin-themed pier with a few fishermen sitting there but no boats. We eventually found a bodega owner who called a friend with a boat, then drove us to the pier. We took a two-hour ride in a colorful wooden boat around the river and gulf and saw some neat silver fish jumping in the water, but no dolphins.  

    
    
   

Bangkok street fair 

This event took place in Lumpini Park and went on for several days. We went twice! Lumpini Park is a beautiful quiet green space in this boisterous bustling city. I walked through it once on my own. Oh, and there are alligator-looking ‘monitor lizards’ there!

   
    
So the Bangkok street show takes place here. There are street performers from all over the world.  

        
   
We saw some amazing performers, and I loved the fact that many were different from what I have seen in the past. Many were Asian, no surprise there, but they were so humble and almost prayer-like about their acts. Like the puppet show at the Artist House, performers often faced away from the audience and kneeled for a quiet moment before the show. It wasn’t done as part of the act, or done ostentatiously at all, it seemed quite genuine to me. Despite the zaniness of the shows themselves, performers bowed to the audience at the start and finish of their show and when I could understand them, they thanked the audience and said they felt honored to perform. There was a lack of sarcasm and attitude that I really appreciated.  Here’s Truly onstage with the Twin Dragons – twin brothers with a comical martial arts act, and Cleverly with one of her favorite performers:

   
Also the monitor lizards and free cotton candy were big hits! 

  

 Many people were wearing yellow to commemorate the birthday of the King of Thailand. Thais really love their King, who was crowned over 60 years ago and brought honor to the monarchy, which had had hard times, and a level of stability to the country. His birthday is also National Day and Thai Father’s Day, so you can see December 5th is a day of celebration here. They call him ‘Dad’ and we saw numerous signs in English proclaiming ‘we love our Dad’. There was also a bike ride called ‘Bike for Dad’ that took place a week later with tens of thousands of participants throughout the country, and in fact in other countries as well! So you may notice a lot of yellow shirts in the street show pictures. Similar to our experience in China during their mid-autumn festival, the crowds were happy and peaceful.

Jim Thompson farm 

 This trip was organized by the Bangkok homeschoolers group we have been lucky enough to get to know. We had visited the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok and learned of his revitalization of Thai silk work in the 1950s-60s, and now we were to see the farm and silk works he had established before his mysterious disappearance in 1967.  

     

  The farm is about 3-4 hours from Bangkok and is only open for about a month once a year. There are fields and fields of flowers, a ‘village’ with traditional houses, and buildings with people working on looms. It is large-scale agrotainment, with all the tourist shops and accoutrements you would imagine, but with interesting Thai and silk components. We moved among the areas in brightly painted busses, some that looked like watermelons and silk worms. 

  

There were rice harvest and threshing implements: 

    
 And the teak buildings on stilts, similar to the ones Jim Thompson had moved to Bangkok for his home. 

    
 The silk looms and raw silk were lovely to look at and so soft to the touch!

    
    
   

Just some more random photos from a photogenic place: 

    
    
    
   

That’s the update for now!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Bangkok and day trips, December 2015

  1. Pingback: Venice, Italy, July 2016 | Tripping Fantastic 2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s