October, 2014

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
Sometimes Harumi's friends join.
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Ornament made with dried Globe Amaranth

Golden Thailand

We went to Thailand in September. It was my first and my husband's fifth trip to the golden country.
My personal tour guide Mr. Okochi was a perfect guide, showing me many places of my interest, feeding me the best food, and he even paid all the expenses except my secret purchases.

We went to many temples, saw some famous hotels for research, met friends, shopped silk products, visited flower market, museums and even the Zoo. To my regret, the elephants which I really wanted to see were not there because of the renovation of their house.
And one more big regret! I could not include an Elephant in my secret buys.

Here, I will show you photos of my trip. This is not a Guide to Thailand. It is just my memories of the beautiful Thailand.
I hope you share my memories.

   Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok
The new airport, and it was so big.
The decoration was big too.
I enjoyed looking closely at it.
   The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok
Please look at the flower strings from the ceiling.
They were real flowers.
The bottom pond was full of blooming lotus flowers.
   Authors' Lounge is quiet and beautiful.
   Ice pillar of flowers at the party we were invited to.
They are real flowers.
   This Hotel decorates only real flowers. I asked and found out that they have "Flower Team" of 10 arrangers, and hire women to help when necessary.
I was so glad to find this poster (part) on the wall of the Authors' Suite.

Anna Harriette Leonowens !

The letter was sent from the King of Siam in 1862 to invite her as an English teacher for his princes and princesses.

I hope you can read the letter in this soft-focused photo.
I was deeply impressed with the King's noble and proud attitude.
He said in his letter that Mrs. Leonowens should do her best to teach the children English language and literature, but never try to convert them to Christianity.

   Monument in the garden for Mrs. Leonowens.
The lower part of this monument is a time capsule, and it will be opened in 2055.
It contains her personal belongings.
I would like to attend the ceremony in 2055. I will be only 111years young then !
   The quiet hallway.
I liked the lotus flowers.
   We dined one night at the Thai restaurant of the Hotel, Sala Rim Naam. We crossed the river on the hotel's varge. We enjoyed the show of traditional Thai dance. The lady on the stage is the human-faced bird of legend.
Thai cuisine was amazing too. And the outstanding service of the waiters!
   Beautiful dancers greeted us,
maybe because we looked oldest among the guests that night.
   In the garden of the hotel, I found a bird cage.
"Oriental Sisters" are Common hill mynas, and the longest staying guests of this hotel. They have lived here for many years.
But I saw only one bird in the cage. Where is her sister, I wonder.
The photo of the bird turned no good and I cannot show you. Sorry.
I talked with her. "Sawaddee!"
   Morning cafe at the river side.
So many kinds of bread.
Hu-m, happy smell! A perfect breakfast in cool breathes from river. Pigeons and sparrows joined us. Also the catfish with big mouth in the river urged me to give them food.
A waiter came to me with a basket of small pieces of bread, and I fed the fish. Fish and I, both were happy.
   Swimming pool for children.
The pink flowers are Lotus.
   A statue of elephant near the elevator hall of the hotel.
Look at the blanket he wears. It is made with Jasmine and Globe Amaranth.
   Close look of above.
 The varge of the hotel lets us cross the river to other hotels, or the Thai Restaurant, and also near communal piers.
We used this many times to go to the temples or shopping.
Wat Phra Kaeo
Temple of the Emerald Buddha
The legendary bird with human face.
Wat Phra Kaeo's walls are so beautiful.
This is the King's Temple.
 Detail of the wall.

Wat Phra Kaeo is called the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Inside, we can not take pictures. So from outside, I took this picture of the Emerald Buddha, made with jade.
This was the most beautiful Buddha I have ever seen.
Wat Phra Kaeo
The Golden Pagoda that contains Buddha's bones.
 Wat Arun
The Temple of Dawn

The late Japanese author Yukio Mishima, who died of protesting Harakiri suicide in 1970, wrote about this temple in one of his last series of 4 novels. They are an amazing story of reincarnation.
 Too steep were the stairs of the Temple of Dawn.
I gave up at only 10th step.
 Wat Ratchabrana
In this temple, there is a small house to do services of Buddhism for Japanese people who died in this country.
The priest is a Japanese monk, sent from Koyasan. He said he will be here for three years.
 At the entrance of The Jim Thompson House.
Jim Thompson was the father of Thai Silk industry.
 Thai silk threads have special

Usually cocoons are white.
 I have seen light-green cocoons in Japan, but never seen golden cocoons like this.
The color depends on what the worm eats.
 This man shows how to take out and spin thread from the cocoons in boiling water.
I felt very sorry for them.
 This girl guides Japanese guests in Japanese language.
She did a good job.
And I did a good job too, teaching and correcting some words. Was I too kind?
 At every street corner, we saw many spiritual places where people pray donating flowers and incense.

Golden Buddhas everywhere.
Also elephants.
Flowers are bought at the flower market at night by the people, and they sell them in the daytime near these Buddhas.
The yellow flower is Marigold.
Jasmine, Globe Amaranth, Roses. also. Orchid, too. Sometimes fruits.

This country is really a land of flowers.

 Beautiful Thai food at a famous Thai restaurant popular to Japanese tourists.
The yellow rose is pumpkin carving.

 Tropical birds we saw at the zoo. Name ?, I forgot.
Many kinds of animals I saw, and took photos. I really did. But strange enough, those animals have disappeared from the photos.
Timing for shutter is difficult when it comes to an animal who doesn't pause for me.
This trip proved me as a super-idiot photographer.

 Next to the well-made piers of hotels, these worn-out boats were abandoned.
This time we saw the both sides of Thailand.
Rich and poor. Light and darkness.
We came home wishing 'Long Live the King and Queen' and also wishing good luck for the poor majority of this Golden Thailand.
Thank you, Thailand.
   Our friend Nawapon-san cut this lotus flower which bloomed in the morning of that day in her small veranda of the condominium.
We prayed for our sick friends and recently deceased uncle.
Our trip was full of prayers.

Dear readers, you are in my prayer too.
Thank you.

Thank you very much for joining me.
I hope you will visit us again next month.

 Mail to Harumi Okochi