About 95% of Thais are officially Theravada Buddhists, although that 95% probably covers everything from sages and zealots to people who think of themselves as Buddhists but haven't seen the inside of a wat in decades. Apart from the ubiquitous monks in their 'saffron' robes (which actually span a spectrum that runs from brownish-yellow to lifejacket orange), the visible symbols of Buddhism are the wats, temple compounds where groups of monks are assembled together. But there's also what - to my eye at least - looks like a minor parallel religion, represented by the spirit houses and shrines.
May 2004 Archives
I now have the eerie impression that this site is just one point in a vast continuum of possible blogs: I received a nice note from Philip Sen, pointing out his blog, Disorientated, which is clearly my typographic and thematic neighbor in the n-dimensional blog-o-space. If you like my site, you'll probably like his even more, as he has more photographs, more countries and more regular updates. Recommended.
Making generalizations about the weather is always a poor idea. Just when I thought I had the pattern figured out, we had two days of steady drizzle followed by a solid day of blazing sunshine. Nevertheless, the typical Bangkok day in this season appears to follow an easily-described pattern.
Continue reading 'Rain'
Khlong Saen Saep
Bangkok may lead the world in anarchically informal ways to get around. Like any other self-respecting Asian town, it is infested with tuk-tuks, three-wheeler taxis that skitter through the gridlocked traffic like gaily-colored bugs. There are buses of every size and color, usually doorless to allow passengers to get on and off as rapidly as possible. There are long-tail boats - narrow canoe-like vessels with a VW engine mounted on gimbals in the stern driving a screw at the end of a fifteen-foot shaft that makes a noise like a buzz saw and raises a rooster-tail of white water behind it - to take you across the river. There are taxis, with and without meters. There are motorcycle taxis. There are tricycle rickshaws. There is a Skytrain and a River Express. There will soon be an underground.
Continue reading 'Khlong Saen Saep'
The boy with brown hair looked something like a young David Bowie, but with the full lips and suggestively-mobile eyes of somebody's slightly unnerving aunt. After a while, a girl who looked as if she was at risk of being hospitalized for an eyeshadow overdose handed him a handbag, completing the picture of fashionable androgyny.
Continue reading 'Hi-So'
Black and White
At some Thai wats (temple compounds), it is apparently traditional to offer a carved elephant, in thanks for (or anticipation of) prayers answered. One small wat in the Bangkok suburb of Nonthaburi follows a somewhat modified version of the tradition.
Some pictures taken on a walk through the Central and Wan Chai districts on Hong Kong Island.