So, I’m posting pics in two separate galleries. This one is for Thailand, where I visited first.
We stayed in Pattaya, which isn’t exactly known for its “family-friendly” atmosphere; prostitution is one of its main draws, and has been since it was used as an R+R site by the US Army during the 50s and 60s. And yet, if you managed to look “around” this aspect, the country was beautiful. For me, Pattaya encapsulated contrasts: it was wonderful, terrible, beautiful, disgusting, charming, repulsive, and utterly amazing. It was chaos that somehow worked beautifully. I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you and cut to the chase. Would I go back? Absolutely!
As always, if you want to see a picture larger, click it.
Even good old Ronald McDonald gets a dose of Thai culture. He wai’s outside the Beach Road location.
I loved these myna birds that flitted about the hotel grounds, begging from the tourists. They’d chirp and call so engagingly I almost felt bad not feeding them. They always made me smile, and I miss them greatly.
I’m being very brave, petting the baby tiger, when it’s hot and sleepy… Taken (for a fee) at Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens. Not only gardens, but an elephant refuge and small zoo, Nong Nooch was (at risk of sounding way more old-fashioned than I am) simply delightful.
What do you do with angry birds? Cage them, of course! Conflict is bad; cool hearts should reign, in Thai culture.
The Naga Kings guarding the steps up to the Big Buddha.
Close-up of one part of the Sanctuary of Truth. What amazing work! It was jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Tien Beach on the island of Ko Larn. Clear, fish-filled waters here, unlike the nearly dead waters on the mainland beach. Too bad I left my swimsuit at the hotel (sigh).
The Sanctuary of Truth, a huge monument to the various sects of Buddhism, and a training ground for students to learn the ancient techniques for construction and restoration of Thai cultural sites. This immense building has been under construction for 32 years, and still has plenty of years to go.
Every place is wired, electrified and lit against the night. This is the result. I find it amazing that anyone could find the right wiring to repair, or replace, any one location without taking the neighborhood down.
Pattaya from the City Park hill. It’s a very sprawling metropolitan area, and while some of that haze is humidity (trust me on that one!), much is pure air pollution. But up there on that hill, there were so many butterflies and singing birds that I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
At Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens, an elephant made from ceramic pots!