Piang Luang Trip

Sawadee Khrap

This will be the first in a series of posts to cover my recent trip to the Wat Fa Wiang Inn Temple at Piang Luang and the Thai Yai refugee camp at Lak Tran not far from the Burmese border.

Dr Saneh and fellow monkI was invited by Phra Saneh Dhammavaro, Director of Academic Affairs, Mahachulalongkron Buddhist University at Wat Suan Dok to go with them as they visited the local temple and the refugee camp nearby. 

We traveled North to Chiang Dao and then West toward the Burmese border past Wiang Haeng village to the much smaller Piang Luang village.  This route is 72 km, almost all climbing over the steep mountains – it put quite a strain on my little Mira car but she made it fine.  The views were spectacular but I didn’t get any shots on the trip there, but the next post has some panoramic taken at the camp.

IMG_4772  We had a choice to stay at the temple or in the village guest-house – I choose the guest-house – but that even proved to be very rustic.  The room had a water-heater for the shower but I was told that the gas ran out about 3 years ago and so I was left to take a cold shower in the morning – Oh well it was only for one night.  At least it had some mosquito netting on the windows so it was fairly safe.

The next morning I got up about 6 Am and went out to the road and got some shots of the locals going to school, work or just starting their day. (see the slideshow)

IMG_4773 IMG_4778  Here is a shot of the Dr. Phra Saneh and  Phra Sinlapachai Santikaro and the two young daughters of the owner of the guest-house – these were really great girls – they showed me to my room and brought water and what I needed for the night —– the other shot is the truck load of items the Dr. brought for the temple and area locals to share.

The next post will cover the trip to the temple and the third will cover the trip to the refugee camp.

I have also created a Slide Show of the remaining photos for this leg of the trip.  Please enjoy and leave a comment if you like this kind of presentation.

Ciao

 

Finally, I’m posting again

Sawadee Khrap

Yesterday I went to “the Spirit House”  for breakfast and took some shots: 

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Owned by Steve and Wanchai, the Spirit House is unique in Chiang Mai.  Steve was a well known pastry chef in New Orleans for over 8 years. 

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The restaurant and bar also features classical music, DVD’s, and Asian antiques from all the surrounding country.  Open all week, they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in European style, but they also have Thai food for the locals.  If and when you visit Chiang Mai make sure you don’t miss this place.  BreakfastFruitBowlExtremely reasonable pricing – for example my breakfast started out with a glass on passion fruit juice, then a fruit plate with mango, pineapple, melon, mangosteen, and jack-fruit.  After this the meal was ham, scrambled eggs with Cheddar cheese, onions, and mushrooms, toast and pot of herb tea – all for 100 Baht ($2.50 US).

I forgot to get a picture of the full meal – I ate it so fast I forgot to get a shot.  Believe me it was delicious.

From here I tried to find a new massage spa managed by a friend “Tree” – but I must have passed it by -I’ll have to ask a friend where they are located and have some shots later. Sorry about that.

So on I went to the Golden Ball to get some shots of the staff.  Here is a link to the Golden Ball staff website gallery Tasanai made for them – enjoy and plan a trip here to savor the food and service.

Ciao

Golden Ball opens

Sawadee Khrap

Well it was Opening Night at the Golden Ball Restaurant in Chiang Mai.  I posted the business card before and here are the images from this afternoon/evening.

Bon was busy setting up for the first customers so I really didn’t bother them – more pictures will follow when the full staff is there and the place is running smoothly. But here are the first shots:

GoldenBall-Bon GoldenBall-Bon-MenuHere is Bon – a little nervous and really excited about getting started.  Here’s his menu – in Thai of course – I’ll get the English version soon.

Full training of the staff wasn’t possible – the final paperwork for the purchase was delayed and so this was a hurried opening  – but as they say the show must go on. 

Here are shots of the rest of the Restaurant and Bar– There is a inside and a outside restrauant area and the bar area itself.  Very, Very nice

GoldenBall-frontGoldenBall-outsideRestaruant

 

 

 

 

 

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Stay tuned – the staff pictures will be posted soon and I am sure you will want to stop by just to say hello –  –   –  But of course we want you to have something to eat and wash it down with a great drink and warm conversations.

I feel like I’m coming down with a cold and I have to do another shoot at the Temple tomorrow morning at 6 AM – soooooo I’m gona take my Thera-Flu and go to bed.  It’s 9 PM now – hope I can sleep.

Ciao 

 

 


P.S. Here is a link to the Golden Ball staff website gallery Tasanai made for them – enjoy and plan a trip here to savor the food and service.


Asalabucha Day – Buddha’s first sermon

Sawadee Khrap

Tomorrow (Sunday) is Asalabucha Day, when Thai’s celebrate the day that the Buddha gave his first sermon to his disciples.  WatMontienI went down this morning to see Van-WatMontien5

 

 

 

 

what activity was at the Wat Montien Temple– just 3 blocks away from our Condo – today the monks clean it and the candle and merit ceremony will be on Sunday, then on Monday and Tuesday is the start of the Buddhist Lent and the monks retire to the Temples for the rainy season.  They used to fully confine themselves to the temple area because. as custom has it, they did not want to kill by stepping on any animal as they walked in the WatMontien2rainy season – puddles could hide animals and they would step onVan-WatMontien4 them without knowing.   The monks are also preparing circular amulets of the Buddha to sell to the people tomorrow as fund raising for the Temple.  As you can see they have a large variety of colors available, and this only shows about a quarter of the ones laid out to dry in the Temple.

Van-WatMontien3I was very fortunate to meet a Novice Monk (Van) Van-WatMontienwho showed me around the Temple grounds and told me the story of the celebration. He is from Lao, living at this temple while studying here in Chiang Mai at Wat Suan Dok – a very beautiful Temple nearby and the nearest Monk Novice School.Van-WatMontien2   Van is studying English Language as well as the standard Buddhist classes.  It was a lot of fun talking to him and what a beautiful young man.  He says it will take him about 9 years to graduate from Novice class to a full Monk.  After he graduates from school he plans on returning to Lao and his Temple.

He also offered to give me a personal tour of Wat Suan Dok on Wednesday and that I would never refuse – so I will should have some great shots to show you then.

 

Ciao 

Mike’s Burgers – 1st Bangkok Branch

Hey, remember back when I posted about my trip to Mae Ngad Dam with Brian and Kot.  Well Brian just opened his new Mike’s Burgers in the Silom Road area of Bangkok. Just up the street from the famous “Patpong” streets and the ever so erotic “Boys Street”.     Another friend, Jerry, was there for the Grand Opening and sent me these pictures.

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He has 3 other franchised locations here in Chiang Mai and this is the first to go in at Bangkok.  The big “enchilada” – he is planning on franchising several others in the greater Bangkok area over the next few years.

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That’s “Pong” behind the counter – Mike’s partner.   The next time your are in BKK and taking in the sites at the famous red light district “Patpong”   Make sure you stop by for a old fashion hamburger and fries – he’s even got beer to wash it down with.

 

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Good Luck Brian ——  Reminds me of SF – Look out McDonald’s

Golden Ball Restaurant – Chiang Mai

Sawadee Khrap

Bon, a friend of ours is opening a new restaurant in Chiang Mai.   Tasanai just designed his new business cards and when you are in Chiang Mai be sure and stop by.  Many cute boys as waiters and excellent food – both Thai and Farang.  GoldBall-Front copy

 

 

 

 

GoldBall-Back copyGrand Opening scheduled for August 1st

Here is the map for the local boys –

See you there !!!!

 

Their web-site should be up and running soon – They tell me they will have pictures of the staff – be sure and check it out too.

Ciao

Day Two – Fang trip

Sawadee Khrap

Continued :

We had a very good breakfast (included in the room cost) and then headed out to the Thaton temple area again.  Nestled on the slopes of the densely forested mountain range that separates the northernmost part of Chiang Mai province and neighbouring Burma, lies the Thai Yai or SHAN village of THATON.  100 years ago, the Mae Kok river used to be the border between Thailand & Burma and cut the city in half – Now the border is 2 km North and both sides of the river are Thailand. This is the view from the great Buddha statue, one of the 3 massive sculptures looking down on this valley.

This is a fairly large file so have patience to see the full size version – but such a incredible vista.

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Here are shots of the 3 sculptures:  IMG_4189-Fang-07-10-07-

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If you look closely at the photo above you can see two(black spots),  massive wild bee hives in the Nagas or the Serpents – here is a close-up – these were over 6 ft. long and about  1 ft thick.

 

All 3 sculptures are situated on the side of mountain looking down on the valley – and they are very impressive to see as you drive by on the main highway through town.

Next we headed to the Hot Springs at Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park.When we got there we could not see any activity from the geysers. FangHotSpring2 As you can see from the picture only a couple of small jets were alive and all of the creeks were empty. 

 

Again this is a large file – please be patient if you want to see it full size.

We were told by the snack vendor that the geysers and springs were only active for about 40 min/day and as our luck would have it  – this wasn’t the right 40 min.  We got some water and snacks but decided not to wait around for the next activity – maybe next time – so in the car and headed back home.

Our next stop was at Tab Tao cave in Chai Pra Kan – now that’s a mouthful.

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This is the entrance to the cave – too dark to get any good shots – we will have to bring several flashes to get any inside shots – maybe next time.   These caves form a network – connecting together throughout the Chiang Dao Mountain Area.     From here we headed back to Chiang Mai.

Ciao

 

Setting up the Expat’s Photo Group

Sawadee Khrap

Several guys from the Expat Club of Chiang Mai are revising the Photographic Group and I am helping out.  We are planning on having evening meetings about twice a month, with time for critiquing photos, tutorials (film & digital, lighting, processing, editing, and framing) , and live product presentation by local businesses.  So far plans are to have the first full meeting about  mid September at Tusker’s Bar & Grill.   I plan on helping out where I can  – great group of guys and some professionals as well.  Great learning experience.Best party in Chiang Mai

 

 

 

We really like Tusker’s —– so if you are in town make sure you don’t pass it by.  Next month they are having a BBQ party, sponsored by ThaiVisa and Tasanai and I plan on attending – August 18th.  This should draw people from all over Thailand. I’ll try and get pictures of the festivities.

Ciao

 

 

Day one – Fang Trip

Sawadee Khrap

We left Chiang Mai later than expected as we had to first get a new battery – ours just died.   So with half the day left gone, we left and headed for Fang – arriving there about 2 PM.  We did stop for lunch along the way but didn’t get any shots.      IMG_4183-Fang-07-10-07-We booked into the Tangerine Villa – the largest and newest of Fang’s Hotels.  cost 1000 Baht/night  $28 US  — high because of the low US dollar and high Baht –  nice place, comfortable, but not quite up to most of Chiang Mai’s four star class.

Next, we headed out to see the Old City’s (before the Lanna Kingdom) King’s & Queen Monument. temple and grounds.

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and then on to Mai Ai and Thaton.  Along the way we side-tracked to Tak Mok to see the waterfall there – Boy!,  was that a steep climb in the hills.  The little Mira just made it  – didn’t overheat but we did have to stop and add more water at the top – seemed like a real deserted road leading straight to Burma.  We kept going wondering where the waterfall was (no signs posted) and near the top we came to a tribal village.IMG_4098-Fang-07-10-07   This was the Lahu ( Musur) tribe. 

These people originated in southwest China and migrated first to Burma before being forced by the Burmese Army into Thailand.  We hesitated on getting shots of the village as they were a little surprised that we were there – maybe they didn’t believe that our little car could have made it.  On the next trip I want to spend a lot more time there and get some shots of village life – we will need to have some coins to give them to get some pictures.

Still we didn’t see the waterfall so we headed back down and several curves below the village we saw some boys playing in a rode-side pool.  I didn’t see them on the way up so this was really a sunrise.  They were real friendly and loved posing for the camera and seeing their pictures.

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IMG_4137-Fang-07-10-07Really wanted to join them – it was about 92F now and little breeze.  But as you can see several of the boys were skinny-dipping and we didn’t want to cause any problems.  So we just got some shots and headed back down to the valley floor.

On to Mae Ai and Thaton, it was getting late and the sky was getting very cloudy.

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In Thaton we stopped at lower entrance of Thaton Temple and went only to the base of the first pagoda (Chedi) – had to start back as the clouds were really starting to build and it wouldn’t be long before a real downpour started.  We planned on going back tomorrow and see the whole complex.

And I mean down-pour, as we headed out of town it started to rain in earnest and I mean rain – rivers of water on both sides of the highway – could barely see at times it was coming down so hard, but about half way back to Fang – it stopped.

After dinner we wanted to see what Fang held for night-life.  A friend suggested that we stop at Chaba, a local bar and his favourite hang-out.  Here we met Dang the owner – he was from Fang went to Chiang Mai and moved back to start this place.  Very nice, lot of people there. A great place to start the evening.ChaBa-Dang-Fang-7-11--07

We had a couple of drinks and chatted with Dang for a while and he suggested we also stop by the club on the corner of the same block called  69Club.  It was the favourite spot for the gay community in Fang – and they were there.  What a great crowd – friendly – with good music and atmosphere – not to mention the beautiful boys there.69Bar-Fang-7-11--07

Here’s their card for reference.  These are two spots we don’t want to miss on our next visit to Fang. 

The other “HOT” spot in town is the Orange Disco Club – packed, loud, everything I don’t like so we let it slide  – maybe Tasanai will venture there the next time and let us know what it is like.IMG_4186-Fang-07-10-07-   

It’s late – so we headed back to the Hotel.

 

The rest tomorrow.

 

Ciao

 

Life in Fang

Sawadee Khrap

Last weekend Tasanai went to Fang for a Spirit Ceremony project.  Here are some shots from that trip – First the Fang valley and dancing at the City Pillar.

FangValley      Dance-FangPillar

 

 

 

 

 And some Temple shots in the area.  We are planning on a trip there soon and will plan on visiting each and getting more descriptive shots.  Tasanai had a project to do and so had limited time to really capture the splender of the Fang Province. 

Here are some snaps of the many temples in the surrounding area.

TempleNearFang TonRungTemple

 

 

 

 

 

And he caught a peaceful monk sleeping at To Rung Temple.

MonkSleep-TonRung

Fang has many caves – Tab Tao Cave has been used as a temple for over 1000 years – 

TabTaoCave TabTaoCave2

Something catch your eye – let us know and we try to get more detailed shots on our next trip.  We plan on making it a mini-vacation too – staying overnight and enjoying the relaxed country life. 

Ciao

Bloggy the Bear ???????

Question of the year – “Who is sleeping with Bloggy the Bear?”

A friend of ours, David in London has a rather erotic gay blog site and a mascot called Bloggy the Bear and he sent me this puzzle to try and solve.  But I found that some of the pieces were missing and this is as far as I could get.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

BloggyPuzzle

I guess if we want to know who is Bloggy’s friend then we will just have to go to his web site to find out the answer.

A little PhotoShop trickery –

 

Cold’s gone – Storms not

Sawadee Khrap

Finally over my cold, that was a mean one.  Took a lot of Thera-Flu.  I am so glad that I had a friend bring over several boxes with him when he came to visit  – I cannot find this product on any drug store shelves and ordering it is impossible here.  Thanks John.

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Here’s a panoramic view of the storm cloud I showed last time – you can really see how strong it was here – since the start of the monsoon season began much earlier this year so we don’t know what to expect.  Today it’s just drizzle.Tomorrow – God knows

Tasanai has signed up for extended schooling and will begin next month to go for his prep for University.  This will take  1 1/2 year but worth it – make him more competitive in the future.

This weekend we will have another photo shoot with the model I showed a post back.  These will be done at a friend’s gorgeous apartment here in our Condo.  A specific session focusing on capturing the erotic nature of the Thai male body.  Should be fun – I really look forward to it 

Later gator !

Chiang Mai Storm

Sawadee Khrap

Here’s what our monsoon storms look like as they approach Chiang Mai – this is a shot from our balcony facing South –  First they are hitting Lampang and the currents are now causing the storms to go further North encompassing Chiang Mai.

ChiangMaiStorm

This was about 4 PM yesterday – and rained till about 11 PM –

Tasanai was stuck in Lampang until the raining stopped there and then he caught a bus back home.

Here is also a link to the Weather Report for the

storm tracking service 

Interesting but it looks like Chiang Mai is going to be fight in the path of storms for a while now –  

Still haven’t gotten over my cold – so this is brief.

Ciao

 

Well we wanted rain – didn’t we

Sawadee Khrap

We asked for rain and now we got it – a monsoon a month early, global warming ????

In any event it is really starting to rain – heavy overcast here in Chiang Mai but heavy, heavy rain in Lampang and most of Thailand now – severe flooding in the South and around Bangkok, severe winds in Mae Hong Song and flooding expected there too.

2 years ago it flooded in Chiang Mai 3 times – major floods – looks like this year might be a repeat.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we will go to Lampang for a gathering for the 100th day since the death and cremation of Tasanai’s Uncle.  Service in the morning and then party in the afternoon and on into the evening – Tasanai will stay until Sunday and take a bus back – I plan on leaving Sat “early” afternoon – make an appearance for the family and have lunch and go back to Chiang Mai.

Last Thursday we started shooting our first model for gThaiStudio and I’m checking out the photos now – 

Point-doisuthep

He’s from North of Chiang Mai and very, very cute – 21 – here’s a sample shot when we went to Doi Suthep – he hadn’t seen Chiang Mai before so we did a little tour – and aren’t the little tribal girls cute too.

We have some great shots of him in traditional Lanna style dress and without

Maybe I can put in some teaser here to show you what the new site will have – ???????    let’s hear your comments.

Ciao