Tagged: Thailand

Letter from Thailand -The Wedding

The Wedding

The big day started at three o’clock in the morning. We went to the hairdresser not only to get our hair done but also to be dressed in traditional wedding costumes.  It was still dark outside, we were half asleep, and the corner store was still closed, so there wasn’t a beer for waking us up.

It was still dark outside.

Traditional very white make up was used no matter that bride is white.

Corner store was still closed, so there wasn’t a beer for waking us up.

        When hair and make up were done, it was time for a wedding dress. 

And more white powder was put on arms.

At the end some jewellery

When everybody was done we went back home again on a pickup truck.

At home wedding guests were already waiting for as and the ceremony started immediately.

The ceremony started.

Eggs were shared.

Rice was thrown.

And then “fai” was tied on the wrists.

Each “fai” must be thanked for.

Food was served after the fais were all on our wrists. We sit on the floor, eating all Thai goodies with sticky rice. I was busy eating so there are no photographs. But I beg you to use your great imagination and picture this feast. Then the big shoot of portraits started. I brought my mobile “seamless’ and we hung it inside of house. It couldn’t be outside because that would be bad luck.

Newlyweds Martina and Jet

Newlyweds and witnesses

Newlyweds with grandma

The seamless was too small for all people to fit in.

Then we had to rush to the car, no one understood why and where we are going, they said to fireworks. We were packed like sardines on the truck, food, beer, rum and drinking water in a container were taking up the little space we have for ourselves.

We were packed like sardines.

But we were all in high spirits.

I found out later were we went. We went to Yasothon, the smallest province in the lower northeast of Isaan region. And it wasn’t for any fireworks but a Rocket Festival, which is celebrated each May at the commencement of the Rainy Season. The home-made rockets were fired into the sky paying homage to the God of Rains.

Everybody was drunk there; people were betting on rockets, the winner was which get the higher into sky. It was a big spectacle with dancing, screaming in excitement, talking, drinking, eating. And everybody was crazy about us farangs.

Everybody was drunk there.

The home-made rocket was fired into the sky.

People were betting on rockets.

It was a big spectacle.

Suddenly we had to leave. The family was getting worried about us, some of us were already quite drunk so they decided it’s time to go home, and continue to celebrate the wedding.

And how did the wedding end? With a dance to Thai and Czech music.

Dance to Thai music.

Dance to Czech music.

Everyone had fun.

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Letter from Thailand – Before the Wedding

Before the Wedding

Back in Bangkok, just for couple hours before we are off by train to Isaan – the northeastern region of Thailand. We got off in Si Sa Ket, then continue to Kantharalak by bus. In Kantharalak one of the groom’s family members was waiting for us with a track. We had still 30 km to go to the village of Nong Diang Noi Non Yai.

There are 2 days left before the wedding. Not much is happening; no kind of preparation – no food is cooked, no decoration is done, everything, most of it will all be done the day before the big day. So we relax, drink beer, local rice “vodka” and Sang Som, a local rum­­­­­­­­­­­­­­.

A day before the wedding women started to make a Buddhist POT. Leaves of banana are cut, small flowers are added. And then all this is ensemble together.

Leaves of banana are cut

small flowers are added

The bride and groom with two witnesses and farangs (Thai word for someone of European ancestry, no matter where they may come from) went to the authority’s office, where the marriage was officially signed.

Marriage is officially signed – first bride.

 then groom and witnesses.

document must be stamped

and now Martina and Jet are officially married.

After the official wedding, we went to the market to buy food for the wedding, in the back of a pickup truck, the way everybody travels in Thailand.

Going to the market  in the back of a pickup truck.

In the market there were many things to choose from:

Frogs

Mushrooms

Chickens

Fish

Ant larva

Beef

and pork.

Vegetables we know

Vegetables we do not know

and fruits.

I should not forget alcohol – beers, local rice “vodka’” and rum were bought as well. All this was put on the truck, between us.

Chang beer for the wedding.

For the family, kitschy pictures of Prague were printed and framed.

Pictures of Prague

We wanted to sleep early because the big day started the next day in the early hours. But cooking went on; villagers were visiting or just were coming to see so many farangs in one place at the same time, a rare occasion.

Cooking went on all night

I am exhausted, good night everybody, will continue shortly, will continue shortly, will…


			
					

Letter from Thailand – I am a tourist

I am a tourist 

I went to Thailand to photograph the wedding of my friend Martina. I didn’t go alone but with other friends of her’s. The wedding was scheduled on May 19, 2012 but we arrived in Bangkok two weeks earlier. We were five but only four were staying for the wedding.

We didn’t fly to Bangkok together; everybody was coming with different air companies and by different routes and times. Do not ask me why. It just happened this way. I was flying with AeroSvit Ukrainian Airlines (which I would not recommend to anyone), arriving at Bangkok airport at three o’clock in the morning. Peter was arriving the same day but four hours later and I should wait for him. So I was wandering across the airport, I bought couple beers, but time didn’t move. I bought more beers till my eyelids were getting heavier and heavier and eventually they just shut down and I couldn’t open them anymore.

Peter arrived, the future bride came to meet us, they looked for me but I was nowhere to be found – I was sleeping heavily in a far corner with other travelers, homeless and airport workers. Luckily, my angel woke me up and I rushed to look for my friends, worried that they may have left the airport without me. They did not. We found a cheap hotel, one room for all, with one double bed, some will have to sleep on the floor.

The future bride and groom introduced us to their Thai friends and a beer marathon started and it lasted for three days. What else to do in Bangkok, where the temperature and humidity are very high. Jet, the future groom, works at an ice distribution centre. In this heat ice cubes are in high demand, employees work from early morning to late night.

Thailand is a tropical country with sunshine and high temperature all year long, so ice is very necessary for its people.

When everybody arrived in Bangkok we jumped on the train and then a bus and finally arrived to Khao Sok – rainforest resort. In the tourist guide it’s written, “more than 48 species of mammals, 184 species of birds and thousands of species of trees and plants have been recorded there.” We went to see waterfalls where on the footpaths leeches were waiting for us. And there were millions of them.

The waterfall was a kind of rapid or maybe we just didn’t get to the right one.  There was frogs’ music during the night and one burglar, who checked some backpacks and took only local money. I guess he was a Buddhist thief.

We went to see waterfalls where on the footpaths leeches were waiting for us. Photo by Petr Bartos

The waterfall was a kind of rapid. Photo by Petr Bartos

From Khao Sok we moved to Koh Lanta. We travel all day, changing one bus after another, then minibus to ferry, exiting at the beach for a swim. Well…when we arrived we find not a sandy beach but a coral one…it was ebb tide.

We find not a sandy beach but a coral one.

We stayed one week, went to the sandy beach, traveled around the island on motorbikes, ate well, drank well, but for my taste… I do not like to be a tourist, not staying in one place long enough to know it well, to know people well…

Koh Lanta fisherman

A portrait of a sea gypsy in the village of Sang-ga-u in the south east corner of Koh Lanta. Sea Gypsies or “Chao Ley” (people of the sea) used to live a semi-nomadic lifestyle in the Andaman Sea; these seafarers of Indo-Malay origins were also the first settlers on the island some 500 years ago.

A picture of the Rama IX, the current King of Thailand in the old town of Lanta Old Town.

I wished I could stay longer in this small Koh Lanta Island and become a friend of the sea gypsies. But we were on move again, this time to a really touristic area – Phi Phi Island. We travelled by boat with all the tourists, meeting another boats full of tourists as well.

A boat full of tourists.

Phi Phi village is very, very, touristic. We had bungalows far from the center, though the music was so loud all night – ok, it finished at 3:00 a.m.  – there were some seriously stupid show, the same each night and the same music as well. Ah, Phi Phi Island, I did not like you and I was wasting the little money I had on you.

Some Thai come every morning to work here.

We took a boat trip to other islands. The first stop was on the Monkey Island. Monkeys were supposed to be friendly to human tourists. But with our group they were not friendly at all. Well, in the beginning it looked like they might like us.

Monkey Island.

But then one jumped on me… and other one grappled Peta’s hair…and it wasn’t funny anymore.

Crazy monkeys ready to jump on me.

The next stop was ….boy do not know the name but I felt whole of the world is snorkeling there.

Whole of the world is snorkeling there.

Tourists with life vests.

I must say I was very happy to go back to Bangkok, from where we were going to Isaan….the wedding.