Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Night train

So, roughly 4 weeks ago I got the night train from Bangkok - Chiang Mai. This is probably the last installment in my "retrospective" theme and from now on I should be on target, since I have done nothing but grammar exercises for the last month and I doubt any of you want to see photos of them.

The photo above is very blurry (it was dark and I had nothing to keep my camera still on and I was in a vibrating train - in my defense) but I just loved the colours of the ladies' dresses. Hopefully the awesomeness of that is still clear, even through the blur.

Below is my fabulous train dinner, which was especially made vegetarian for me by my delightful waitress. It certainly isn't anywhere near the best food I have had in Thailand, but it was large, filling and fine and cost me a cool $4. The beer was an extra $3, was huge and was necessary to sleep (the train seemed to be salsa dancing all night long).

I departed at 7:35 pm and arrived at about 10am in the morning in Chiang Mai. As the sun came up, I stood in a "between carriages" part and watched the landscape roll by as we ascended into the foothills of the Himalayas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One Night in Bangkok...

And I felt like I'd made totally the wrong decision with my life. I arrived, as expected at around 11pm, and got lost on the way to baggage claim with a lovely Australian architect (we were too busy complaining about the bad aesthetic of the airport design and missed the baggage turn-off - ironic really). That was all okay.

THEN my taxi driver couldn't find the hotel I had booked, so we spent literally one hour driving around side alleys of China town (which was scary looking and deserted) in meaningless circles. I was losing the plot and seeing things I was so tired (I had, by this point, been awake for over 23 hours and my last sleep was only 3 hours). Once at the guest house, I almost cried when I saw the room and had a minor anxiety attack. There were gaping holes in the wall leading into plumbing and gutter areas, and in my sleep-deprived mind (and reality probably) a sea of rats.

I left the room, cancelled my reservation and told the lady she could keep 100 baht, but took the rest. Called a cab and went to the traveller's ghetto like the lame falang I am. I booked into a much cheaper, and cleaner, guest house and went to sleep to the sounds of football yobbos vomiting in the streets and dumb half-naked girls trying to come onto them. I felt like I was back in Otago, KC's had re-opened and I lived next door.

Things changed in the morning though, when the light peered through and I remembered - hey! I love Bangkok! Here's why:

Powerhouse Museum

I could make excuses for my tardiness with my blog, but instead I'll give you some photos of beautiful couture seen at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. This museum focuses on design and technology and features exhibits on more everyday parts of life - from fashion to kitchen pottery. It's awesome. I love 'low brow' museums.

The outrageous shirt/ jacket combination above is by a graduate from the Sydney school of fashion. The deluxe heels below and the dreamy swimsuits (although I can imagine swimming in wool would have its downside...) are both vintage fashion pieces, shown in the history of design section of the museum.

The bird, and angry man, were outside and free to watch.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In chronological order: Sydney

To be honest, I was expecting my 6 hours in Sydney to be a boring waiting period before the real fun began - Bangkok! As often happens, this did not go to plan. While my first night in Bangkok was AWFUL, my day in Sydney was absolutely glorious and one of the nicer days of my life.

In my brief time there I managed to stroll through the Museum of Contemporary Art which was housing an exhibit on protest art (awesome!) and an entire floor of amazing digital art and video art. I thought a lot about lovely Jenna and the kinds of cool company she finds herself in (conceptually I mean, I'm not calling myself cool).

After my compulsory dose of High Culture, I headed for the more mass produced work of Paddy's Market. For anyone who hasn't been, this is a sprawling market housed in a brick industrial building where you can buy pretty much anything from organic chinese cabbage to oversize (and I mean oversize) calculators. I felt like I had already landed in Asia:

But no, there was still a distinctly Australian feel:

More on Sydney coming up! (for those not -in the know- it does not take four days to travel to Sydney, I am in fact in Chiang Mai now, but I thought I'd use this stationary month to gradually post things as I find the time/ inclination).

Question: If you could have any one of the undies/ soft toys/ dinosaur model things - which one would you choose? (you may want to click on the image for close-up detail to help with this important decision).