Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thai Neck Pillow

On the long way home in the taxi today, I felt a little drowsy and decided to take a short nap in the back seat with my head resting on the driver's Thai-style hourglass-shaped neck pillow. Feeling like a Siamese Prince from 100 years ago, I tried to imagine what it must have been like in those days. One thing that's certain, people must have regularly woken up with stiff necks back then.   

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Curious Curios

You never know what you're going to find inside a Thai taxi, but I can guarantee that you will come across a slew of random objects. Besides sacred images on the dashboard in the front of this cab, there are many curiosities in the taxi such as this green parrot knickknack. I asked the cabby about this creature and surprisingly, he couldn't recall where he got it. If I owned a fuzzy bird statue, I wouldn't forget in a million years where it came from.     

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

King Rama V Day

Today is Chulalongkorn Day, or Wan Piyamaharaj, a Thai national holiday observed every October 23rd that commemorates the life of King Rama V, one of the most beloved monarchs in Thai history. King Chulalongkorn (reign 1868 - 1910) is remembered for his major reforms and for helping to modernize Siam. You can find his image throughout Bangkok, including this one proudly displayed on the ceiling of a taxi. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Monk's Best Friend

Thailand continues to have a large number of stray dogs despite some efforts by non-profit organizations and kind-hearted individuals to ease the problem. While some of the dogs roam the streets, many can be found in Buddhist temples. Some dog owners who can no longer care for their pets bring them to the temples with the knowledge that the monks will take care of them. I've heard of one temple in Bangkok that has literally "gone to the dogs". The monks at that compound take care of 700 canines and spend 1,500 US dollars a week feeding them.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thai Remedy

Eastern medicine practices often differ greatly from those in the West. In Thailand, many people still rely on traditional health remedies that have been passed down through many generations. Take, for example, this large leaf in the front seat of this Bangkok taxi which is supposed to cure certain ailments. The driver told me that he'll chew on this leaf to aid in digestion and to help keep him hydrated. In the West, most people would simply pop a few pills and drink Sprite.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pop Goes the Buddha

In the West, religion and popular culture usually don't mix and when they do, it's often considered blasphemous. In Thailand, however, Buddhism and pop culture go hand in hand. Here the religion is so integrated into everyday life that most Thai people don't consider images of the Buddha surrounded by plastic toys and action figures to be absurd at all. The driver of this taxi told me that he wants to collect even more cartoon and anime characters to display next to his Buddha statue.      

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bouncing Buddha

As if this Buddha weren't jovial enough, the driver of this taxi added a spring to his statuette to make him bouncier and to create the effect that his belly is shaking as he laughs hysterically.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Good Deeds

"Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds."
- The Buddha