Sunday, January 24, 2010

Offering turtles and eels in action

On our family walk at the park yesterday, I fortunately stumbled upon this very interesting sight I had really wished to see.This 7-year old Thai girl in yellow shirt that says "I love the King" is praying for the turtle before she would release it into the pond at the park. As I mentioned in my previous post that turtle is a symbol of long life here in Thailand, this girl is being led by her dad to say a prayer for good health, accident-free and long life for their family after the dad met an accident.

Do you notice the bruises on the dad's arm and leg? He was spared from a vehicle accident so they come to offer a turtle at the pond.

Not only did they offer turtle but also golden eels for their ancestors.

I was good only at capturing these pictures but I could not dare to hold these slimy snake-like creatures.

 See how brave this girl is? She's now ready to release the wiggling offering for her dead ancestors.
 It really looks and crawls like snake!
 She's now releasing the eels one by one into the water.

 And there they are- the golden eels lived happily ever after in their niche!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Fully Blooming Sakura in Thailand

 White and pink sakura
Just branches and flowers
 Another variety
 Pick up covered with fallen Sakura flowers
 A black Chevy under the Sakura tree
 A truckload of Sakura flowers collected straight from the tree at the parking area
It's nice to walk down the aisle filled with flowers.

Weeping Sakura blooms
Another Sakura variety
 Close up shots of  Sakura or Cherry blossoms

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Turtle as a Symbol of Long Life

Have you seen turtles as big as the size of a car's tire? Here in Thailand, you can see them in the ponds, swamps, lakes or canals anywhere. Animals are highly respected here so they grow really old until they just die especially turtle which is believed to be the symbol of long life. Scientifically, turtles and tortoises can live up to 150 years. So some Thais do the merit by buying small turtle to release into the pond or any body of water where it can survive for long years as they believe that it will bless them with long life by doing so in return.

My kids took these photos at Dusit Zoo close to the King's Palace in Bangkok.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

"Head" 2008 Exhibition at Central World and Zen

I got  the chance to see this spectacular exhibition of the craft, "Head", by India's famous artist G. Ravinder Reddy at Central World and Zen Department Store at downtown Bangkok last month. This work is in honor of the 80th birthday of the longest reigning monarch in the world, His Majesty  King Bhumibol Adulyadej on December 5, 2007. The display lasts for over a month so it's still there as it stands around the fabulous Christmas decors such as the towering Christmas tree that stands as high as the mall building itself.

Head's dimension:
H.3M, W.1.86m, D2.68m
Bronze, 2009
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sunset from the Plane

My Thai friend, Khun Moo, took this sunset views from the plane on our way back to Bangkok from Chiangmai.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Experiencing Nature and Thai Hospitality in Easternmost Thailand

The summer of 2008 was one of our family's best family experiences. Aside from our country-hopping from Thailand to Malaysia then Singapore, we got invited by a Thai friend at her hometown in Trat, the easternmost province at the border of Cambodia, about 400 kilometers from Bangkok. In Thai culture, guests are never invited to a Thai house or family unless they are so close with one another. So I felt so surprised and honored that I and my family got this very rare opportunity. And look, we had a real experience of a traditional Thai house! Believe me, one teak wood post alone costs about 500,000 baht (about US$15,000.). So count the posts of the entire big house. Every piece of furniture of this magnificent house is exquisitely made from the very rare and expensive teak as well.
Trat serves as a major producer of fruits in Thailand. So we enjoyed our hosts' own farm harvests. Who could resist the finger licking fruit? It's the fruit that smells like hell but tastes like heaven. Guess what it is? durian! And theirs is a rare variety. Oh, it's so creamy and sweet! The whole family enjoyed picking rambutans, longgans and lanzones from their hundreds of acres of fruit trees. They also have the green sweet mango so famous in Thailand.

 What surprised my kids most is the very vast farm of cashews. They knew cashew-nut as they're both monsters of it but they'd never seen cashew fruit tree before. They could not believe that Auntie Ying, an only child, owns all those 5 wide farms we visited.

Cashew tree

My friend Ying's dad is showing my son how rubber sap is collected from the tapped rubber tree before it is made into a tire.

Trat also offers delightful scenery and a tranquil hideout for nature-lovers.On our third day there, the last day of Songkhran Festival, our gracious hosts took us to a beach at the border of Cambodia. To our excitement, we all walked around the very fine white sand beach before we finally dipped ourselves into the pristine water.

Our generous hosts also took us around Koh Chang where we had the chance to view the beautiful sunset. Then finally, they toured us around the area's Nature Park.

Sunset at Koh Chang (Elephant Island, Trat)
The trip was long, about 6 hour-ride, but the great experience and unsurpassed hospitality was more than worth it. We got back to Bangkok soooooo refreshed and filled with memories to cherish!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Thai and Chinese Temples: Spot the difference

Buddhism is the major religion in Thailand and it is also the largest and fastest-growing religion in China. Thus, in both countries we can see temples everywhere. Thais usually go to the temple or wat to pray, offer some merits to the monks such as food, fruits, money, saffron robes, etc or perform religious rites. Some go there to light some candles or incense while they say their wish. Unlike Christian churches which are used to gather together and listen to the sermon or mass and sing praises or hymns on a regular basis such as on Sundays or Saturdays, temples are used as a gathering place for people who are attending religious ceremonies such as funeral or a cremation  where monks officiate the  the funeral prayers usually in chant.
In Thailand, temples are favorite tourist attractions and have become one of its major symbols. Thai temples can be easily distinguished as they have some distinct architectural features. Can you tell whether these temples are Thai or Chinese? 

The curved roof-ends give the tip of the eaves a highly distinctive look and add to the graceful appearance of Thai temples and traditional houses. These are symbolic of the 'nagas' or river dragons.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lily for Elegant Bridal Bouquets and Floral Decors

Thailand is famous for its flower exports such as orchids and lilies. This lily is one of the many varieties here especially used for floral arrangements and bridal bouquets. The most common ones are white, pink and yellow. Below is white with yellow accent.

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