Friday, November 30, 2012

Blessing at the Morning Night Bar in Bangkok, 2012

The blessing of the bell to bring good fortune to the bar.

I stopped to see my favorite street tailor this morning to get my pants hemmed, and he told me to come back at 10, which I did only to find a Buddhist blessing at the Morning Night Bar next door that would start at 11.
Went home and got my book "Bangkok Party" to show of a similar event I had photographed 2 years ago.
Well, I got to eat with the manager Maew and her mom and photograph the blessing. Maew told me that she's in charge of 11 beer bar now. A big-time operator.

(photographs by Randy Magnus)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Celebrating Loy Krathong in Bangkok

'Loy' literally means 'to float,' while 'kratong' refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can float on the water.

We started by taking the bus over to the flower market of Bangkok to see the making of the flower and dough floating vessels that are used to float away your problems in the loy krathong ceremony. From there we stumbled upon a parade honoring the yearly event of dancers, musicians, and others dressed in native Thai clothing. Very beautiful.

Near the end of the parade that took place around the hospital that the King of Thailand resides in, the rain started pouring down. Everyone raced into an open lobby next to a food court, where the musicians and dancers performed.

From there we went along the river to watch the decorated barges float by, and across the river by ferry to the Temple of the Dawn, which was full of people watching the entertainment and dancing on a stage, floating their vessels of Loy Krathong into the water, and launching their hot air lanterns into the sky.

It was good to see the culturally historical clothing, dance, and music of the Thailand of yesterday, of the importance of the waterways in the history of Bangkok, and how it is appreciated and celebrated today in honoring their own tradition.

(photographs by Randy Magnus)

(Special thanks to Michael Khan of Wat Suthat for showing me around)

Back Alleyways to Thai Eating Delights in Bangkok

A couple of my favorite street food carts are gone from the days when I did the book on them 6 years ago. But Namo in his neighborhood near the old govt building is always surprising me, this time taking me down little alleys that lead to other even smaller alleyways....

to a courtyard of a hundred year teak house that serves basically three things:

a spicy pork and egg noodle soup,

fried rice with crispy crunchy popcorn shrimp and bits of crispy pork,

and shrimp and onion in a long large open-tube macaroni in a tomato sauce.

Served with a green Chinese tea and a cooked green banana in coconut milk for desert for about the same price of a street food vendor. The portions are smaller than usual for Westerners, but that means you can eat again that much sooner.

In my neighborhood there are only street food vendors or British and Aussie pubs.

Lately I've been starting to figure out food courts, where you put money into a card and take it to the stall that you want to order from and return to the cashier who takes the card and gives you the change, usually located on the 4th floor of shopping centers.

(photos by Randy Magnus)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Commuting in Bangkok

The Skytrain in Bangkok seems to be more crowded each time I use it.

The water taxis get crowded during the rush hours.

(photos by Randy Magnus)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thai Food - Bangkok Style

De-boned Roasted Duck with rice, Crispy Fish with sticky rice, and Doner kebobs are only a few of my favorite dishes in Bangkok.

(photos by Randy Magnus)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thai Cowboy Fest 2012

The Blue Mountain Boys Band headlined the Cowboy Festival this year. There was a dancing horse, a wild west show, food, crafts, and all in the Western Cowboy Style.

(photos and videos by Randy Magnus)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving in Bangkok, 2012

I had realized that I had l left my lens cap back at The Tavern when the turkey caught fire earlier in the day. Went back and the waitresses had it set aside for me. Scott, the owner, offered me some leftovers of the steamed Turkey if I bought a 95 baht beer ($3), which I did with a 20 baht tip.
Later I was offered the same deal at the Zen Bar, which I declined, being full.

Checked out the clubs and noticed that it was almost 11:30pm, so headed over to Cascades for the nightly ladyboy cabaret show.
This one ladyboy wanted me to buy her a drink, which you have to do to avoid all the others wanting to sit next to you, and one has to have a drink in front of you to be able to stay in the club.

I got out my camera and the waitress said I couldn't take any photos. But I knew it was okay to photograph the cabaret because I had done it many times during my past visits. We got the manager who knows me and he said it was fine for me to take photos during the show.

I took a few photos of the cabaret when I realized that I didn't have much money on me since I only went out to find my lens cap. Checked the tab (250 baht) and I was 10 baht short.
When the manager walked by again I told him that I was a little short (30 cents) and for him to make up the difference. No problem, and he took the check and what Thai money that I had on me. (I'll pay him back next week).
The ladyboy next to me got the feeling that I wasn't going to be a big tipper and lost interest in me, which was fine for I just wanted to shoot the ladyboy cabaret show.

So how was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thai Dancers at Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, 2012

Some of the same Thai dancers are still performing at the Erawan Shrine in downtown Bangkok, Thailand. What you do is to make a wish along with an offering to the statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu creation god Brahma. And when your wish comes true, you pay to have the performers dance behind you as a form of appreciation.

The last time I was in town two years ago, it took me a while to figure out that the Thai Dance troupe were performing the same dance over and over, all day long until 1am in the morning. I like how they tell the patrons that its all done and for them to leave. In one case, as they were performing the patrons stood up and the performers promptly told them to sit down, not finished yet.

One of the musicians went somewhere and I got recruited to join them as the finger cymbal player for an hour. During their ever so slight breaks they briefly play video games on their electronic devices.

I went back to see the performers again and once again got recruited to play the finger cymbals, this for 2 hours so each of the other musicians could each take a lunch break one at a time. I walked away smelling of incense smoke because the wind was blowing it right onto us for most of the time.

(photos by Randy Magnus)

The Parade for the Draping of Golden Mount Ceremony

They brought out the elephants, floats, and marching bands for this fun parade in Bangkok, Thailand honoring the yearly draping of Golden Mount ceremony. Everyone got to participate by holding onto the stream of cloth and joining in the parade.

(photos by Randy Magnus)