Muay Thai gym 2

The next gym I visited was located beneath an overpass near the National Stadium. This gym is named Poolsawat. The master is named Nan (uncle) Dam, and he was a fighter back in the day, and a local champion. As with Sit Chaansing, there are ten students (here, aged 8-20) that Nan Dam has selected to train, and the students don’t pay. Poolsawat is obviously better furnished than Sit Chaansing; the club is sponsored by a local Chinese-Thai businessman who wants to make his name as a philanthropist for young people. Nan Dam has been training students for 28 years,…

Muay Thai gym 1

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….

Screens

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.

Tourism 101: Wat Pathum Wanaram

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;…

One more about massages

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…

Postscript 

Thai has words that are similar to collective nouns in English, but they involve more precise rules of usage, they exist for more commonplace words, and they apply to singular as well as plural nouns. You might never need to refer to a pride of lions, but – depending on the context – you do have to refer to a lăŋ of bâan (one house or two-plus houses), and I couldn’t tell you what a “lăŋ” actually is, except in reference to “house,” just as I couldn’t define a pride without referring to “lions.” “Phaasăa Thai yâak kwàa (Thai language is…