Ayutthaya, the coastal-hinterland kingdom of Siam 1351-1767

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Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

In the swelter of the tropical heat, I stood watching two women carefully position themselves by a banana tree. Placing their arms around the clusters of unripened bananas growing low tipped with a blossom, they readied themselves for a wefie. “Are you Thai?” came the high-pitched holler in my direction from the lady sitting behind the ticketing booth at the entrance of an ancient-modern park in Ayutthaya. I turned to look at her, my expression blank. “Are you Thai?” she repeated. Within two seconds of capturing my continued state of lack of expression, “Fifty baht please!”, was the clubbed reply to the final, full entrance fee to be paid. I stepped up to the ticketing booth and handed over fifty baht and thanked her. It seemed almost everywhere I went in Bangkok, Thailand, people thought I was Thai, except on the occasions of paying for entrance fees.

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Street food, Bangkok, Thailand 2016

Bangkok, Thailand 2016

Chinatown at after five, Bangkok, Thailand.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had not often come across a decline in request to a destination, especially one in which tourists are encouraged to visit, but the tuk-tuk driver absolutely declined to drop us off at Chinatown in mid-morning in Bangkok, Thailand. “There is nothing there to see now. After five p.m. okay. But if you really want to go, I can drop you off at the corner 7-11 shop and you can walk from there.” He spoke to us through the rear view mirror of the tuk-tuk, his eyes meeting ours. After some contemplation, I asked, “Where would you recommend we go now? What is open?” His eyes lit up with a smile, “I bring you river tour! But first, I bring you to tailor shop? Very good suits for you, Sir!” He had already brought us to two other tailor shops, plus a jewellery outlet. So we kindly agreed to the river tour, but we didn’t want any more tailor visits. It was our turn to decline. “Only five minutes!” he intervened, “Very fast! You just go in spend five minutes, and then I get free petrol. Free petrol. You help me?” he said, unabashedly, with a big smile. He was already off to his designated shop. I turned to look at Sir and said, “I’ll probably find another cheongsam to tailor with Thai silk.” Continue reading “Street food, Bangkok, Thailand 2016”

A Buddhistic view of markets – ‘there is no train …’ – at Maeklong, Bangkok, Thailand

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Covered in gold leaves
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, R Cordeiro, CM Cordeiro 2013

Temple visits
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Fortune on a stick

When in Thailand on a short visit you have an endless number of options on how to spend your time. However, if you are not shopping, sunbathing, eating, drinking, boating or trying out any of the local spas or various massage options, you will eventually find that you are on your way into one or several temples.

For example, right next to the Maeklong Railway Market you will find the Wat Baan Laem temple with its important Buddha statue and just near that, another temple, and near that, another.

In one of these, I found the option of having my future read to me through a brush pot of fortune sticks. For those who have not done this, you shake a brush pot filled with numbered bamboo sticks until one of them somehow volunteers itself out of the holder. Eventually I got my stick and with the help of my guide Susie, I found the matching fortune explanation.
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A little bit of kampong and river ways in Thailand

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Holding on to a small but growing jackfruit, just outside of the Damnoen Saduak floating market, about 110 km southwest of Bangkok, Thailand. The largest tree borne fruit in the world, jackfruits are potentially enormous things, seldom less than about 25 cm in diameter they can reach 36 kg in weight and up to 90 cm long and 50 cm in diameter.

The Damnoen Saduak floating market

Really early on the morning the 13th of February we set out to visit the Damnoen Saduak floating market in the Ratchaburi province, about one hour’s taxi ride from central Bangkok. There are several floating markets on various canals in Bangkok and other nearby provinces. Today these floating markets are kept alive for visiting tourists but were originally live wet markets for the local Thai people. “In old times the roads no good so when people want meet and trade, they use rivers.”, our chauffeur told us.

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Edible miniature works of art

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Made from yellow bean paste, these miniature ‘fruits’ make delightful eye-candy

One of my favourite Thai desserts to look out for when in Thailand are these mini works of art known as Kao Noom Look Choup. Shaped from grounded yellow beans, these miniature sculptures are then hand painted with food dyes to render the likeness of fruits and vegetables.
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The Oriental Hotel, Bangkok

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A peek at the poolside with its canopied beds, The Oriental Hotel, Bangkok

The Chao Phraya river, with its deep green waters and numerous junk boats languidly making their way up and down its vast length, lends a sight of utopia to the many luxury hotels that make the Bangkok skyline today.

The oldest hotel in Bangkok, and even slightly older than the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, The Oriental Hotel parallels Singapore’s Raffles Hotel some, in terms of history of famous writers being there and era of being. At 132 years old this year, The Oriental Hotel is the grandest dame that sits by the warm and musky Chao Phraya.
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Valentine’s Day by the Chao Phraya River

JE Nilsson, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

At The Peninsula, Bangkok for a Valentine’s Birthday celebration!
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Thank you all who sent me Valentines and Birthday wishes. A few days ago when we arrived to Bangkok most street names were a mystery and the city had grown immensely since I was here at a conference, presenting a linguistics thesis, a couple of years ago. At that time I didn’t have the time to travel and sightsee Bangkok either.

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Table decoration replete with teddy bear and gorgeously bound menu in red,
at The Peninsula for Valentine’s Day

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro Nilsson 2008 Lebua, State Tower Bangkok

By now we are finding our way much better even if the traffic is a nightmare swept in pollution so thick you can cut it with a spoon. I think the main observation I can share with those who’ve possibly not been here before is that I would choose the roadside food stalls for the food and the up market Hotels, for the view.