Thursday, February 23, 2006

"Girls" "Girls" "Girls"!

Near the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar at 11:30 every night the ladyboys (that's the official term) associated with Marina's Bar put on a show in the Thai Boxing ring.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


There are temples all over Chiang Mai. But the resident monks have better things to do than be on guard all the time, that's why they put these guardian dragons out front. Either this temple doesn't mind tourists, or this particular Naga is all grimace and no bite.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tiny Dancers

There are little spirit shrines everywhere in Thailand. The concrete frames are mass-produced, but appointed individually. You find all kinds of offerings and decorations, usually happy and festive. This is detail from one I found in a quiet back lot near the central moat in Chiang Mai.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Magha Puja

The full moon day of the third lunar month is an important day in Terevada Buddhism, marking 1,250 followers spontaneously dedicating themselves to Buddhism one day long ago. It's a major holiday in Thailand, so people had a three-day weekend and there were fireworks and carnivals in the streets the night before. In the morning, followers bring gifts to the monks and in the evening, every temple has a re-dedication ceremony for followers. Buddhists gather to chant with the monks for an hour or so, then all walk around the temple three times with candles. I joined the ceremony at Chiang Mai's Wat Chang Man. I wasn't so great at the chanting, but I figure I held up my end on the "triple circumambulation."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Karen Tribal Fashion Update

The hot pink sarong is very IN now for Karen men, hand-woven, of course. Some choose a smaller plaid, but always a subdued pattern. Here the village chief sports a prime example, entertaining yours truly and friends at his daughter's wedding this past weekend. (Note the fine half-lotus seated posture.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tying the Knot, Repeat

Here the bride and groom are being tied together by one of the wedding guests. This is repeated each time for each guest and each gift.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sukhothai Field Trip

Just about when I parked my bike in front of the ruins of Wat Mahathat, something like two hundred Thai schoolkids swarmed onto the grounds of the old temple. Their yellow shirts were like living ornamentation on the old rocks and bricks and statues. The girl in the middle of this photo pointedly asked me to take her picture.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

To Sukkothai

It has been a surprisingly effective stay in Bangkok. I've gotten every bit as much writing done as I expected, and updated the actualities of the city to keep the manuscript fresh. So, after 11 days at the Atlanta, I'm heading north, to the old city of Sukkothai, to see the grand ruins of the cradle of the Thai nation and to prepare for more nature-oriented adventures in the mountains of the Northwest.

Motorcycle Taxi Drivers

This is the only city I know of with licensed motorcycle taxis. They're not any cheaper than regular taxis, but they can zip around between the traffic and get you through faster than any other mode of transport. Sure, they bend the rules a bit. Like using the bus lane. The one that runs against traffic. My knees have never felt so obtrusive than at 30 miles an hour between an oncoming bus and a line of bumper-to-bumper cars.