Thailand Revisited!

Are you travelling to Thailand and unsure of what to visit and experience? Here’s a quick video to help you on your way! If you spot something you’d like to explore further just click on the image below to go right to the post! There are also many, MANY places included in this blog that I didn’t get a chance to squeeeeeze into the video, so be sure to mosey around a bit for more inspiration! Continue reading “Thailand Revisited!”

Taumata-what?

On Tuesday I decided to do something very British—I went for a walk in the rain. With my partner strolling along at my side we explored parks and desolate rail tracks covered in scraggly vines. We wandered through shrubs and slipped through squelching mud, climbed bridges and jumped over puddles. Despite only wandering slightly afield we found an adventure and the most unlikely of thoughts popped into my head.

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England: Culture Quirks

Dear England,

About two months ago I moved into this household from Thailand. I don’t know which country baffles me more. On the one hand, Thailand was so different it constantly had me on my toes trying to sort through the social rules, in-house food and structural arrangements. The two landlords, Yingluck and Suthep, were constantly creating a ruckus trying to kick each other out and sometimes I had problems with flooding, but once I got past that the central heating is great and the housemates are nice. Not to mention the neighbours are close unlike my isolated childhood home.

England on the other hand is super similar to Canada… and yet definitely not…

So I thought I’d list out the reasons why I find your household silly. Please continue below.

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Khon: Bangkok, Thailand

Trying to ignore my protesting, rubbery legs I kneeled before the Master and watched intently as he called over a young girl of about six or seven. She rushed to his side and he grasped her small hand, glanced up to make sure I was watching.

Then he bent the tips of her fingers backwards to touch her wrist. She didn’t flinch. I on the other hand was wiggling my own fingers in terror. Just a few moments earlier the Master had tried to bend my fingers to his will and they weren’t as flexible as we’d hoped.

So far my body just didn’t seem to be engineered for the contorting poses of the Thai masked performance called khon. My knees screamed from the kneeling, my body shook from the strain as I tried to hold the angles, I dipped hazardously as I tried to sway gracefully—it just wasn’t working out.

But there was one western foreigner among the Thais of that class who could hold his own. A Canadian who seemed to take the athletic demands of khon in stride and gracefully thundered through the steps. One whose energetic steps emitted the playfulness of the monkey he was supposed to be.

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Bangkok Arts And Culture Centre Infographic

Gliding up to the first of the three large exhibition halls I lightly stepped off the escalator and walked to the edge of the floor. My fingers gripped the railing as I leaned out over the soup of noise simmering below. The floor fell away into a neat crater revealing five floors below and two above. The building seemed to be designed just to encase the empty gulf. Perhaps the architecture was an attempt to leave room for all the sizzling thoughts and ideas bubbling up from below.

It is a capsule. A cathedral. A bomb shelter and haven for modern Thai artists. Hungrily nabbing my mental spoon I spun away from the edge rubbing my hands in delight. It was time to gobble through another five-course meal of social commentary and artistry.

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Grand Palace in Bangkok? Overblown.

One of the first things I did when I studied abroad at Thammasat University was visit the Grand Palace, or Phra Boromma Maha Ratcha Wang, in Bangkok.

So why haven’t I written about it until now?

I just wasn’t that impressed.

Continue reading “Grand Palace in Bangkok? Overblown.”

Pha That Luang in Vientiane, Laos

The Disappearing Man

Pha That Luang glistened in the distance, a beacon on the far side of the sea of tarmac. On my side a few stubbly trees gave shelter to a smattering of dozing songthaew drivers. Their makeshift hammocks, strung across the bed of their little pick-ups, rustled as they spotted me and began to lazily shout.

“Tuk tuk! Tuk tuk!”

I ignored them as I searched the shaded oasis.

The driver I’d arrived with, and not yet paid, was gone.

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Bangkok to Vientiane, Laos

If it’d been a western movie a tumbleweed would have bounced through the scene. The sun was trying its best to beat the heat into the ground. The difference between light and shade was so strong we two foes seemed to be enclosed in a hallway of dark tones. I eyed the border control officer through the small window. He looked up from his seated position, his gaze unmoving and unfazed. I twitched.

Then I clawed for my wallet and slapped 1,800 baht on the counter. A hand slipped out, swept up the money and the small window quietly, unhurriedly rolled close.

I started grumbling at the sky.

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War Stories from Canada and Thailand

They say history is written by the winner. That’s about the only thing we can say with conviction when it comes to tales of the past. Every side of an event experiences a different reality and every witness walks away with a different story. However, the victorious are anything but quiet and the losers tend to push the memory out of the collective conscience as quickly, and quietly, as possible.

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Wat Maha That in Ayutthaya, Thailand

“Ok guys, go over and stand in front of the ruin.”

“Perfect, hold it, hold iiiiit,” I drew out the final word as my friends shuffled into position before the remains of the ancient Kingdom of Ayutthaya.

“Now be happy conquerors.”

The three Burmese before me broke into beaming grins and waved behind them.

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