I’m feeling pretty smug today. I went to the Chatuchak Market today and went through the antiques section–I now have a bow and fish spear for the body painting. I also picked up some sterling silver leaves for a tiara/hairpiece (I’ll make it on the train to Chiang Mai), and lots and lots of beads, shells, etc. for my hair. I’ve also seen a lot of fantastic textile work, but I didn’t buy any because I’m going to Chiang Mai, the mother lode for such things.
I have a photo of the bow/fish spear (?) on my website now–it’s at http://www.travelingtiger.com/travelingtiger/Bangkok/Bangkok_index.htm
(at the bottom of the page, along with a great photo of Bangkok IMO–beautiful scenery being ruined by massive construction, unfortunately a common theme in Thailand. Economic development is not always benign…)
The bow is bamboo, stained a dark reddish-brown, and is quite pretty. It comes with a small quiver of crudely-fletched arrows. The halberd-thingie I’m not quite sure what it is–the antiques dealer said it was a lance, for fighting on horseback (which seems highly unlikely given the length); the landlady at my guesthouse (Suk11) thinks it’s a fish spear. I personally harbor lurking suspicions that it’s really a garden hoe, but whatever it is, it looks pretty darn cool. I did go looking for swords, but didn’t find any that wouldn’t look ridiculous. Besides, swords, unlike garden tools 😉 , are expensive.
So I’m putting the various weaponry in storage while I travel up to Chiang Mai; the shells, leaves, etc., are going with me, so I can work on them while traveling. That should be considerably more benign than the wood-carving craze; at the very least, it won’t involve hauling along 20 lbs of wood and another 10 lbs of carving tools.
I had a very interesting conversation with some fellow-travelers this morning. One was a nice IT guy from Brooklyn, who only arrived yesterday and is traveling for three weeks. He’s flying up to Chiang Mai tomorrow, which means we should probably arrive at the same time–I’m definitely in a mood for company, so I gave him a card and my cell number, and maybe we’ll go poking around Chiang Mai together for a bit.
The other pair are both French (actually I think she might be some other nationality)–they’re traveling for three months and just got back from Burma and Laos. Burma sounds absolutely dreadful–basically, they were overcharged for everything, people were frightened to talk to them or even be seen with them (repressive government, right?), and the whole thing just seemed highly choreographed. They were planning to do a month and cut it after ten days. So I think I’ll skip Burma.
Laos, on the other hand, is supposed to be wonderful…much like Thailand but quieter, more laid back, and better scenery. So once I finish up body painting I am definitely heading there. I wish I had more time!
They also mentioned that there’s an elephant-training place near Lompoc (near Chiang Mai) that takes volunteers. I’m seriously considering it–I’m going to ask the body painter’s friend (Phil) if he knows anything about it or anyone there. training a baby elephant could be lots of fun… 🙂
anyway, my train leaves in an hour (it’s a twelve-hour train ride, so I’m taking a sleeper) so I’d better get to the train station. More once I get to Chiang Mai!