21 December, 2009

Signing off for the Roaring Noughties - FunkyPix2's holiday season update

 Three Wise Pandas gazing at the shining Sa-tar in the Western sky.

Melly Cal-lit-mat !! to everyone from the Chiangmai Chapter of the Panda Chamber of Commerce. This is our holiday season greeting plus diary update so you can share a few moments from our 2009 year.

Activities from some of the early months of 2009 are summarised here (links all open conveniently in a new window).

In 2008 I posted that oh-so-cynical "Happy Kwanzaa" blog which de-bunked xmas - see it here - but this year we're all red-nosed and festive, choc-full of ho-ho's, and led by a cheer-squad of Shopaholic Pandas. Let us show you just how Christmassy the shops are here in (Buddhist) Thailand:

Pandas rock. The trendiest snowpersons are recognising
that black-and-white is the new red-and-green:

 ...and Thai people simply adore any new opportunity for tinsel or coloured lights...


The "other" father xmas (conveniently also sporting a red hat) muscles in on the Retail thing, but his hands-clasped 'wai' greeting is (unfortunately) not quite high enough according to Thai protocols, ie it doesn't demonstrate enough respect for the customer:

Thai Xmas gift baskets [see below] are pre-wrapped in the same tradition as Buddhist monk Donation Baskets. Each one has a unique [= random] selection of goodies ranging from cordial and fish sauce to biscuits and dried fruit. It represents an excellent way to sell up big on old stock which is approaching its use-by date. Smart Thai Retail Pandas cunningly pack it all in clear cellophane which inhibits date-checking. They've noticed that foreigners seem to buy more stuff at this time of year if it's coloured red and accompanied by out-of-tune children's choirs mangling 'Frosty the Snowman'. Anything to get a sale:

And now to some other 'non-xmas' moments... the King's birthday celebrations were taken seriously all over the country. Pink was the colour which the King's astrologer foretold would best assist his recovery from illness. Pink t-shirts therefore predominated at this candle-vigil outside the Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok:

At the other end of Bangkok, life goes on as usual:

Outside the new Arts Centre opposite Tokyu Department Store and National Stadium Skytrain Station near Siam Square. What is mean?

Under the Skytrain, young [male] rap-dancers entertain pedestrians nightly with demonstrations of the art of Extreme Yoga, racking up unusually high laundry bills:

 A Thai take on "political correctness":

(Click to embiggen. Afterwards, click the BACK button)

...and there is sometimes a conscious attempt to be Green, but here
the supports for the letters were all made of wood.

Road Safety campaign, Thai-style.
The number 9 is regarded as lucky:

Puppies being trolleyed to their destiny at Bangkok's giant Weekend Jatujak Market.

As an ex-marketeer myself, I felt moved to capture the image of this old lady selling her basket of second-hand clothes. She'd carried and erected the umbrella, arranged her basket, then placed the yellow floral posy before kneeling and praying earnestly to it:

These five illuminated rooms on the 14th floor of Nakornping constitute our apartment. From R to L they are 1. lounge/corner balcony, 2. kitchen, 3. bedroom, 4. Peter's study/TV room, and 5. Marie's writing hideout/guest-room. No, we don't suffer from Affluenza - together, these rooms add up to no more than the area of a modest 2br house in Austraya:

Buddhist Wats (temples) often place guards at the gates.
(For size reference, check out the person standing near the door).

For connoisseurs of Chinglish (or Thainglish), Thailand is a riot.
This notice was in our lift:
Another notice recently read:

To All Resident.
After 13pm on 17th December 2009, if which room still can't watching
TV program, Contact office for report and tuning please

The exterior of an Arabian restaurant at Sukhomvit, Bangkok.
More chrome than you can wave a Shisha Pipe at:

Here's the best foodstall in Bangkok, in Soi Kasemsan 1 opposite White Lodge Guest House ("Why Losh Guess How"). I bet you won't pay more than 40 baht ($1.50) for the best Thai food on the planet:

...but for you Doubting Thomases, here's Westernized food offered in a glitzy upmarket supermarket cafe. Enjoy your thin sliver of bland "Silverfish" at a hefty price:

(PS: in Thailand,  "Father's Day" = the King's Birthday)

 ...and while we're discussing food, here are some recently-spotted additions to my collection of Asian menu bloopers:
..... * Pankled Coffee
..... * Soup with any kind of balls
..... * Shrimp paste with Saustes Egg
..... * Fried rice topped of shrimp paste sauce with Scomber
..... * Deep Fried Stuff with Red Bean
..... and at a Bangladeshi cafe: Hommose with Fool

Spotted in Siam Square: KIM the Nice Man's Shop

Air hostess announcement: "I hope you will be enjoyed on our fright to Chiangmai"

See you in 2010. Peter and Marie.


  1. You guys are a liot. I raugh a rot (ROR).

  2. Sandshoe very mush. R as in London, L as in Rome. Gotta love it.