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A great place to see real Thai people getting to grips with on of the country’s most popular hobbies.  Men come to spend hours studying the amulets looking for unique and rare examples to add to their collection.  The most expensive will contain hairs from auspicious Monks, and will have been blessed over an extended time.  Strangely, the trade in Buddha images is illegal in Thailand – To get by this the representations are “Rented” to the collectors.

Here are a few of my photos:

A selection of Amulets

amulet 1

Buyers pore over amulets

amulet 7

amulet 3

Pictures of a young Prince as a Monk

amulet 4

A collection of statues, and an Artisan creating a large example

amulet 5

amulet 6amulet 10

Lucky catfish

amulet 8

A cat naps on top of the Amulets

amulet 9

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Duck noodle soup – At my favourite place to eat noodle soup in Bangkok.  A rich, dark broth, chopped Chinese celery, crisp shallots and garlic – and slices of tender roast duck.  My mouth is watering thinking about it.

It doesn’t even need the condiments that come, but adding them makes an amazing taste explosion of sour, salty, spicy and sweet.  Like the BKKRS I add a good spoon of sugar – at a no name restaurant on the corner of Samsen soi 5, Bangkok, Thailand.

Quirky Bangkok

Keeps your eyes open in Bangkok and you’ll see some pretty crazy stuff.  Here’s a few of the random things that I found.

My favourite brand of whisky….

black cock

What an awesome statement.

tuk tuk

No hand grenades, no S&M, no sexual harassment???

noooo

No explanation needed!

no fng

How are they gonna know if it doesn’t smell?

no farting

I know I am.

coffee.

Well those glasses should help with his eyesight…

painted dog

Karaoke – yes, Sexy ladies – yes, Disabled – yes, Filming no, obviously!

no filming

Cute and crazy shit- some things definitely get lost in translation

cute shit 2

cute shit

Started in 1958 by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat, the Buddha park contains more than 200 statues from the Buddhist and Hindu pantheon. Its a masterpiece of outsider art.

Luang Pu combined both Buddhism and Hinduism to create his own doctrine.  He left Laos after the revolution in 1975 to Thailand – only 200m away over the river and visible from the park. He continued his project there, building another sculpture park in Nong Khai.

 

statue 7

 

statue 6

 

 

statue 5

 

statue 4

statue 3

statue 8

 

statue 9

 

statue 10

 

statue 2

 

statue 1

My obsession with papaya salad continues at Porntip resataurant in Ubon, North East Thailand – in the Isaan region where some of the best Thai food comes from.

The papaya salad is by far the best I’ve ever tried. With chunks of raw crab, over ripe cherry tomatoes, crunchy baby aubergines and topped with lots of crispy pork crackling.  I also had another of their specialties – a fermented pork sausage, grilled to perfection over charcoal.  Even the sticky rice in this place is a cut above the rest

Porntip I love you….But why do you have to be in the middle of nowhere?

Travelling in Northern Laos is an amazing experience.  Serene, Beautiful, amazing people and a slow pace of life.  A great place to relax and enjoy Nature at its finest.

The river boat to Muang Ngoi

09 boat

 

Hill Tribe girls pose for a photo

12 kids

 

Another young hill tribe girl plays, and young boys prepare their cocks for fighting.

01 Hill tribe girl10 cocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautifully looked after sowing machine.

11 sowing machine

 

Scenes up and down the river

08 mountains

07 sunset

 

A huge tree, and dead parrot like birds for sale at the side of the road – Sadly a common sight in Laos

04 dead birds

06 tree

 

A white water buffalo family

05 Buffalo family

An Akha Hill tribe village

03 muang sing hilltribe village

 

A spirit gate – protecting the people of the village.

02 Hill tribe girl

Tad lo fall

Tad Lo, on the Bolaven Plateau of Southern Laos – Waterfalls, scenery, relaxation. Or So I thought. Well it was good while it lasted….

Dry waterfallThe day started off pretty normal – Rent motorbikes, drive up to see some waterfalls, find somewhere to swim, eat, drink.  Exactly the kind of things I dream about when on holiday.  We drove straight up to The largest and furthest away waterfall.  But this being the dry season, and a newly built hydro-electric dam, meant no water.  Shame, this was a huge fall that would have been spectacular if there was even a little water – What little water was falling was strangely being blown back up and over the fall by the wind, or simply evaporating before it hit the bottom.

IMG_2578After this we hit our first snag – Paul’s bike ran out of petrol, but this was easily fixed with a run down to the local petrol station.  Right after this though we take a drive to the Tad Lo falls, where we think we’ve hit the jackpot.  A wide 4m high fall, with crystal clear water for swimming, right along a precarious bamboo ladder/bridge thing.  Beautiful.  We spend Half an hour swimming, managing to navigate ourselves right behind the falls and back again.

Swimming is tiring though, and I try to get out of the water to rest for a bit.  The rocks are slippy though, and I feel something under my foot.  I try to move away but slip on the rocks.  As my foot runs the length of the random object I can feel a hole tear in the sole of my foot – But no pain.  Just the kind of feeling you get when a really sharp object cuts you quickly.

gillan getting outAs I drag myself out onto the dry rocks I can see the extent of the damage – A 2 1/2” slice right into the muscle fibre of my foot my friend Paul laughing at me in the background.  I’m still not in pain, but now I don’t know what to do.  How am I going to get back over the bridge? There’s no way I can navigate that bridge, even with the T-shirt I’ve now got tied around my foot. Turns out the thing that cut me was a discarded bamboo fishing rod – also with line and hooks which luckily I didn’t get snagged on.

leder boysAt this point, seemingly out of nowhere, two young Germans, wearing Lederhosen,  come to my rescue.  They’ve got a decent first aid kit and bandage me up enough so I can get back over the bridge to find some help.  I couldn’t be more thankful that those guys were there to help me.  Apparently they are part of a trio travelling around the world, in Lederhosen.  Why not.  I would appreciate people taking a look at their site………………HERE.

Back in town the man who we rented the bikes from offers to drive me to the doctor.  Another person I’m eternally grateful to.  He had a bar full of guests watching a Muay Thai match but left to find me help.

IMG_2585And help we got.  The doctor was also watching the Muay Thai and didn’t seem too happy to help, the word Falang (or foreigner) was thrown around quite a bit. After opening up the hospital for me and taking off my bandages though, he realised how bad a gash it was.

He stitched me up good and tight – with what looked like 20lb fishing line, covered me in iodine – much more pain than the actual cut, gave me antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, and sent me on my way.  And all for only $10, a bargain.

It’s now been four days and I still cant walk, and it bleeds a little.  It’s getting better slowly, but I’m in a hammock on an Island in the Mekong – And its a good excuse to do nothing.