Land of Smiles

I’ve been wanting to do a post like this since coming to Thailand, a series of faces that represent Thai people, however my collection of ‘faces’ is mediocre at best.  But as far as people shots go, I think this is the best of what I’ve got so far…

I think I’ll keep this post going, or at least maybe a new category.  My goal was to have more photos of ‘people in Thailand’, people representing the “Land of Smiles”, so all the Thais call it, but I think I’m failing.  So these are photos that make me smile. I’ve been lazy with my camera in thailand, and I’m blaming it on lack of inspiration.  People are my favorite thing to photograph, I like surprising them in a quick snapshot.  Most of the time I think the look is “why is this crazy white person taking my picture??”
Here they are; stay tuned for more, perhaps I have found an inspiration…

Left: The kid was unhappy about something, then mom spotted me and stopped to pose.

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resaeavesJanuary 19, 2011 - 8:24 pm

diggin the shots!
loy krathong’s are beautiful!

happypoppeyeFebruary 10, 2011 - 11:55 pm

Keep on goin’. I love Thailand. Maybe my favorite country on earth. I never seem to be able to take as many photos as I like when I’m there either. Just too many other things to do.
Nice work,
John

wickjeFebruary 11, 2011 - 11:27 am

Hey thanks! But tell me about it, I’m always so distracted by everything I feel like I’m not making the photos I should be.

Rotmotersai

Okay, these are sort of embarrassing.  We’ve had this thing for about 2 months now, after a couple weeks I did a photo shoot with it.  The photographic equivalent of painting a face on a volleyball and talking to it… I was having fun. I’m bored, give me something to take pictures of!!  I am in dire need of finding a photo story.

Anyway, without further adieu,  this is our new motorbike, it’s a Honda Wave 110.  It’s pretty fun.  We drive around the provence on it and get flat tires (it has little weeny wheels on it).

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Loy Krathong

Festival of Lights

Loy Krathong is a major Thai holiday celebrated all around the country.  It essentially involves lights, being floated, to celebrate and pray to the gods. Loy means “to float”, and a krathong is the small vessel, made from banana leaves, that is floated.  Thais release krathong into rivers to celebrate and give back to the river.  There is generally a candle and three incents sticks on the krathong.  One says a prayer, and then releases the krathong to the river.  The actual Loy Krathong took place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai Lunar Calendar, about two weeks ago.  But the festival was going on for about two weeks before that.  And for whatever reason, in Chachoengsao, our quiet little street was where the festival was centered – except for the actual night of Loy Krathong, where the road that runs along the river in Chachoengsao was crazy.  But for a solid 10 days our quiet little street was turned upside down; street vendors, massive crowds with motorbikes of course trying to get through, late night K-pop being bumped right outside our apartment, it was great fun.  Except of course for those of us that wanted to sleep… Oh and did I mention lots of fireworks.  Lights right.
The actual festival its self we went and participated in, and it really was very cool, and beautiful.

In the north, the do things a little different.  It’s still a festival, except it’s called Yi Peng, a Lanna light festival corresponding with Loy Krathong, but taking place on the full moon of the Lanna calendar.  (Lanna was an ancient Thai northern kingdom.)  For Yi Peng the float Khom Loy, which means “floating lantern”.  These are the giant, awesome, floating lanterns that are released by the thousands, and th most famous image when people think of Loy krathong – even though technically they don’t have anything to do with Loy Krathong.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to get photos of this, it was all the way in the north; I know, sad day… But there are photos of my local Loy Krathong. I also snapped a few frames of film during the festival, but I don’t know when or where those will be developed…

Above: Full moon on Loy Krathong.

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Thailand, Thailand

A prolonged – and awaited – post of photos from Thailand

This first series is from a rehab temple in Saraburi.  Which is exactly what it sounds like, a rehabilitation temple where one can go to get well and study Buddhism.  There were many Thais there, along with wester foreigners, and other SE Asian foreigners. We met a nice Monk, Gordon, who was happy to sit down and chat with us for awhile – see the photos below – and give us facts about the temple and tell us stories.  Apparently of the 200+ members, over half are soldiers.  Gordon told us it’s a pretty intense program once you get there (and you have to check your self in) you’re not allowed to leave until you’re better; when you leave this place you’re either cured or dead, Gordon’s words.  Gordon himself had been there for 30 years, he said he had fought in Vietnam and was a mercenary for hire.  There is no info about the temple online, or in a brochure somewhere; it’s all spread by word of mouth.  “A drug dealer knows 10 people, and those 10 people know 10 people, it’s all spread by word of mouth.” – Gordon

He felt like you almost couldn’t believe a word that he was saying, but I also could have sat there for hours and listened to this guy, and his stories.  Gordon was apparently born into, and grew up in the Black Panthers, and was raised Muslim, but is now a Buddhist monk.  We met him by wandering through the temple grounds, this guy started yelling at us “hey, you guys need some help!  You here to visit or to get well?  Come over here, ask me some questions.”  When we left he said, “you can always come back to visit, but don’t come back to stay.”

Above: I didn’t take any pictures of the inside of the rehab center.  But the temple its self was huge, lots of big buddhas.
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