Monday, February 28, 2011

Klong Bang Luang and the House of Artists.

Last week, We saw an "Ancient Thai Traditional Puppet" performance performing Thai literature called "Ramayana" or the war between the gods and the giants. The Ramayana is the epic story that originates from India. In Thailand people uses this story for "Thai Mask Dance". So, Thai Mask Dance, it's a pattern of "Hun Lakorn Lek", the movement of the “Hun Lakorn Lek” seem like a Thai Mask Dance.   Thai Puppetry has been apart of Thai culture and tradition for hundreds of years. The first puppet performance was called "Hun Luang" otherwise known as Royal Puppet. It first started during the Ayutthaya period, but only during royal functions or within the royal palace were these puppets performed. Later, during the reign of King Rama 4, "Hun Lek", or Small Puppets performed Niew Jeen (Chinese Opera) and the Ramayana along with "Hun Kabok" or Stick Puppet and Hun Lakorn Lek otherwise known as Traditional Thai Small Puppets became open to the public and performed widely all around the country.

Hun Lakorn Lek is continuing its tradition by passing down its knowledge to the next generation by opening a small children puppet theater, preparing them for performance as well as to love and appreciate this old traditional art form.

This house is located close to Wat Arun ('the Temple of Dawn'), Baan Silapin is based within a two-story building that includes an art gallery, as well as lots of examples of Thai handicrafts. The wooden, Manila-style house features a gently sloping roof and gables, which are beautifully decorated with intricate wooden carvings.

The house belongs to a family of goldsmiths with the surname Raksamruat. Since the beginning of the Rattanakosin era (1782-present), several members of this family have also served as government officials. Since the area has featured luxury homes belonging to influential families and high-ranking government officials, this stretch of the canal was given the name Bang Luang - Bang means 'area', while Luang refers to the monarchy (and government).
Finally, the only way to get this house is by walking.  So, Head for Soi 3 on Charansanitwong Road. Park your vehicle in an appropriate spot in Soi 3 before reaching the end, as you'll see a small bridge that is for pedestrians and motorcycles only. Cross the bridge and turn left. You will need to follow a small path that runs alongside the canal for about 100 meters. Baan Silapin is located at the end of this path and opens daily from 9 am until 6 pm and admission is free. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hua Hin, Thailand

Last Saturday we joined some of my wife's friends and went to visit Mr. Herter and his wife. They are from Switzerland but they are living in South-East Asia, specifically in Thailand 25 years ago.  Their House, with a small lake wich is the home of some kind of fishes, is located in Hua Hin.  As we got their house, they welcome to us with a big and happy smile.  It was easy to realize that they are a lovely and friendly couple.
We spent the whole day at their home, drinking Chivas, beers, wine and an special sweet drink that I don't remember its name,  I think it is "amareto".  I could not drink any of these drinks due to I am taking medicine, Damn it!

Almost at noon, a guy, who plays guitar very well, joined us. He started playing his guitar and singing some songs.  Suddenly, I heard a very familiar melody, I put a little more attention and noticed that song was "Besame, Besame mucho", a really romantic mexican's song!!!   I saw that guy trying to sing in Spanish; he could not speak Spanish, but no matter,  he hummed along the song while playing his guitar.  I approached him and started singing the song.  I did my best to sing well due to Spanish is my mother tongue.  After this song, I saw tears on Mrs Herter's cheek, and while wiping away her tears, she told us that Spanish is a really romantic language. She was very excited!!  She also told us whenever she and her husband went out to have dinner in really good places, such as, five-star hotels, or restaurants in Europe there was a trio singing romantic songs in Spanish... Whenever she listen to songs in Spanish she remembers some good memories.

Well, After lunch -we had for lunch Spaghetti, chicken, and salad- we went to the beach.  You can see on the pictures!!! Hua Hin beach is really a nice place: white sand, a lot of palm trees, warm and clean water, etc, etc.   Hua Hin is located  on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand and only 200 kilometers from the capital, Bangkok. We went to Hua Hin by car and it took almost 2 hours.  It offers the ultimate getaway destination for the city's elite; along this beach there are a lot of luxury resorts and five-star hotels. Below, you can see the garden of the Sofitel Hotel. In the 1920's this place where is located this hotel was the Railway Hotel, currently is the Sofitel Central,and it is still one of Hua Hin's most popular hotels.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Asokaram, Temple in Samut

Samut Prakan is a bustling fishing town only a half hour drive south of Bangkok. Because of its closeness to the capital, it continues to retain part of the busy metropolis. The town is situated at the estuary to the Chao Phraya River which then continues its flow into the Gulf of Thailand.
There are several reasons to venture out this district. This place offers a route to some quite interesting sites in the near vicinity. It is also a safe alternative to the relative chaos and confusion that some tourists often feel when touring the capital. 

The province in which the town is located is basically divided into two distinct regions. On the western side of the river you will find mostly rice fields, prawn fields and a few mangrove forests. To the East of the river, you'll find the urban center complete with its dull industrial factories.
Chedi Thutangka it is "a dome shaped monument used to house Buddhist relics and to commemorate significant facts of Buddhism"- this one is said to hold relics of the Buddha.  Inside the temple you can find Buddhist monk images that are very famous in Thailand due to their exemplar live style.
Finally, if I could replace the title of this block with one picture, the one above would be the perfect to represent it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Yesterday at night I went to China town to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  By 5 pm I went to pick up my wife from her office.  While waiting for her, I drunk a good beer (small bottle Baht 70 -almost USD 2.2 ) There were a lot of tourist strolling along the busy street, specially backpackers.   By 6 pm we went to the King River to take a ferry to Chine town.  All ferries were really full, we had to miss one because was overfull!!  We waited another  ferry for at least one hour. 
Once at the Chine Town, we decided to walk along this interesting distric.  All avenues were not only overcrowded but also noisy!  we walked along 2 squeares in almost two hours... It was unbelievable, there wasn't any  little place or hole free of people!!!!  
Due to the darkness and lack of  light, it was really tough taking pictures, I had to set up my camera in a very high ISO (3200 - 6400) to be able to take pictures.  I don't have any extra flash yet.  On the fallowing shots you can notice a lot of "noisy". However, I am happy with the results.  I think, the Nikon D90 has a good performance using high ISO.
Once again; Happy Chinese New Year!!!! lol