On a recent photowalk, I came across a Muay Thai training gym tucked behind a small Chinese temple on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. Using my limited Thai, I was able to find out when they practiced, and I went back later that week to photograph the practice. The week after that, I returned with a translator so I could get a better idea of what I was seeing. The gym is called Sit Chaansing. It is named for the master, as coaches are referred to in Muay Thai, who trained the current Muay Thai master, Chanamet Tongsalay….
I had an eye-opening (or ear-opening) language lesson today with one of the teachers whom I normally don’t have. She explained that Thai has a spoken rhythm that is pretty much unvarying across speakers (as well as the rules about tones), unlike in English where rhythm and intonation are more idiosyncratic to the speaker. English speakers aren’t used to these rhythms, so it is hard for us to pick out the important words in a sentence. We also have difficulties understanding spoken Thai because we/learn/to/say/each/Thai/word/in·di·vid·u·al·ly/and/pre·cise·ly insteaddalearningthemthuhwaytheyrackshallypronounstinnasentence.
while I work on other projects.
It is very difficult to escape video advertising in Bangkok, on the sides of buildings and especially on public transportation. I hear the warrior from Clash of Clans scream every morning and afternoon at least once, see the very pretty male model sniff the wonderful fragrance of his freshly-laundered shirt as four beautiful women surround him, and watch a bunch of attractive people buy up everything in sight using the “Shopee” app. I’d say everyone else on the train does, too, but half of them have their eyes glued to their own personal screens.
It’s not even the height of the hot season yet.
Central Bangkok is densely populated with shopping malls, hotels and office buildings, and during the day the sound of traffic is everywhere. Nevertheless, in the middle of the Siam Paragon, Siam Square and CentralWorld malls, you can find the relative quiet of the Wat Pathum Wanaram temple. Built in 1857 and shielded (somewhat) by high walls, the temple complex includes a main prayer hall; a stupa; an ordination hall, where the holiest of prayers ceremonies are conducted; a memorial hall; and a library and monks’ quarters. The main prayer hall, standing between the stupa and (across the street) CentralWorld mall;…
This is a thing, apparently. Draw your own conclusions. Despite all of the reflexology charts used to advertise foot massages, the massage places here don’t actually do reflexology; they just do foot massages. Having tried three different spas, I’ve learned that not all foot massages are created equal. Since there are seven different massage spas in the immediate neighborhood – at least six of which seem legit, I’m not so sure about the seventh – I have plenty of opportunities to find one that I like. Speaking of feet, today I wandered into the backstreets off Sukhumvit (one of the…