Chanthaburi Forever

Festival is over…

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…and I’ve moved on to Trat, in the far Southeastern corner of Thailand, near the Cambodian frontier. Had planned to chill out on one of the islands for a few days; but now there’s a mammoth four-day rain event forecast to begin in the next hours. If that pans out, I may just head back to Bangkok, and then on to Penang.

Kinda got festivalled out near midweek; didn’t spend much time perusing the stalls, events, or entertainments; instead choosing to hang in the park with the fruitists, and stalk the townspeople for excellent photo moments.

In re the former: As I say, truly marvellous company. Suppose it’s probably true of any subculture/community. But it’s surely true of the Worldwide Fruit-Eaters.

Including that Lindsay and Rob, the mad geniuses behind The Year Of The Durian, finally showed they faces. They’d been holed up in Bangkok, Lindsay in a frantic scramble to finish her excellent (yes, I have already read it all through) new Durian Tourist’s Guide To Thailand e-book. In celebration of the event, they throwed a big, fat Durian-eating wing-ding on Friday night.

Here’s the gang. A few more showed up later.

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Slovenienne name of “Spela”, modeling the Rambutans in this photo, has uploaded a video of her day, which includes a bit of footage from here. The vid also includes some shots of The Pig. I can tell you right now, next time I come to Chanthaburi, I’m staying at the hotel at which they-all stayed, just so’s I can make friends with that pig!

Looks like the town’s Novices got wind of our little shindig and, blind with jealousy, decided they’d try to one-up us. You may judge for yourself which party was the more spirited (or for that matter, which was the more spiritual).

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But you’d have a difficult row to hoe to convince Nong that it had been — on either score — the latter.

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In the park there are a poop-tonne of exercise machines. Most involve swinging or rocking to-and-fro’ type action. Not exactly challenging. But, hey, at least they promote movement. Here’s a sign giving instructions for its machine.

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It occurred to me that there must be an online tool to OCR Thai script, which could then be sent through a translation machine. Lo and fuckin’ behold, my OCR software that I’ve already got installed will do the job on Thai (and many other languages as well). The OCR looks to my eyes very clean. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to display a block of Thai script text within an English-language WordPress blog. But here’s the translation engine’s output. Having watched two fruit-eaters utilise it, I’d say the translation has nailed this particular exercise more less to the T.

Four. Devices hips swing – and sample pair.

The use of any device upside ft.

  1. NICU gray and 2 above Cote play on the altar.
  2. Fever for 2 side grip on the handlebar.
  3. Brian H. Luo. Channel to the left and right • secret together. Randy looks for the flag Tetum bird hoop back and forth.

Caution

  1. There should catch per plane should wait Im V Eiu sealed before. The slow down of equipment, ganoderma
  2. Avoid the mess I am near the equipment – Karna had ‘?sa work.

Jack’s objectives? Patrick ?t taste of stunning scenery, peaceful muscular chest. The amount by reptilian jaw help pay inflated.

Okay, so long as I’m on about signs, here’re a couple of funny ones. The first is from Chanthaburi, the second from Trat.

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This one not funny; but, have you ever seen such a long name for a school? (Although, it’s nothing compared to the names of the Thai kings. The current king, Rama IX, for example, is officially Phrabat Somdet Phra Paramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.)

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How bitchin’ is Chanthaburi? Let us count the ways.

  • Incredible fruit (though I’ve heard tell that it’s not true all the year ‘round).
  • Incredible climate – cooler enough than other cities in Thailand to make it much more bearable during hot season – especially when that mid-afternoon breeze kicks in.
  • Though there are lots of dogs, they’re by and large small, not aggressive, and don’t bark their asses off all night long. Any one of these is extremely rare for Asia – let alone all three.
  • People are very friendly and helpful toward farang-kind.
  • There’s a lot of traffic; but as it’s skewed less heavily to the motorcycle end of the spectrum, the noise is noticeably less deafening.

And, of course, there is the people-watching. Most of these pics, as usual, are of people on motorcycles, or of people at either the Morning- or Night-Market. Must make efforts, next visit, to expand the repertoire.

On my last full day, I was snapping merrily away at the Morning Market. Spied a kind of goofy-looking guy in pink work-vest and galoshes, and began lining up a picture. But when he noticed me doing so, I made as to move the camera over the crowd, so he wouldn’t realise I was shooting him. But then he yelled out down the aisle for people to ham it up for the camera (at least, I assume that’s what he was yelling, though only this one person took heed his cajoling)…

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He then bade me photograph the lady minding the stall in front of which we were standing. He liked the result so much…

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…that he reached over and handed me one of those little packets of dessert-rice you see there in the lower-left corner. It’s sticky rice with some sugary coconut mixture, and then a big dollop of some other confection-y substance.

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I did taste it. It was very sweet, and fairly pleasant. But despite I had only a very small quantity, I began to feel rather unwell immediately after eating. Don’t know if it was reverse-placebo, or what; but I actually had to go and lie down for a while before feeling better again.

Chanthaburi, the very definition of “beguiling”. It’s on the very short list of Asian cities in which, if I had it to choose, I’d pick to take up extended residence. More fun than ten barrels full o’ monkeys. Until we meet again!

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