Photo a Day x 3: Big Ass Bonus

Apparently I don’t know how to post date posts for automatically publishing at a future date. So here’s a three-fer.

First up: spied this advertisement at a mall the other day. By way of explanation, this involves a popular Thai rock band known as Big Ass. No joke. I know it looks like I added the lettering, but nope, I just converted the image to black and white and masked out the lettering.

A Big Ass Special Project by Big Ass the Thai rock band.

Next up: yet another sunset in Pattaya. This one was fire-in-the-sky spectacular, though.

Sunset in Sodom-on-Sea, aka Pattaya, Thailand

And last but not least, soi dogs on the beach.

Soi dogs on the beach in Pattaya, Thailand


Rank Hath Its Privileges

But a Soi Dog Is Low Pooch on the Totem Pole

And neither my headline nor my subead is SEO friendly. But sometimes one just can’t be arsed.

This lovely lass can be found at the end of Beach Road in Pattaya, where Walking Street begins. Although she has a collar on, I’m pretty sure she qualifies as a soi dog. Sometimes motorbike taxi guys will pseudo-adopt a soi dog, providing it with something to eat and a collar, but not much else.

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a regular roof over her head, poor dear.

At the time I took this I was just walking by, and whipped out my phone and took a shot; it was only afterward that I spied the irony in the background.

Yet another soi dog, spied along Beach  Road, Pattaya, Thailand

Photo a Day: Head on a Stick Edition

Insert Head on a Stick/Game of Thrones Joke Here

Went out and about yesterday to get some photos for the ye olde Jeff Chappell Photo a Day project, then came back to my room and plum forgot all about posting one here. About and about once again entails Sodom-on-Sea; once again I have a mate visiting from abroad — this time, Scotland — and once again I find myself in Pattaya for the weekend.

Oh well. There are worse places to spend time. But I digress.

I was walking along Beach Road yesterday afternoon, with its collection of geeks, gits, ne’er do wells and tourists from more than a dozen countries, not to mention the local Thai people, and vendors selling everything from jet-ski rentals to themselves — along with the usual beach vending: lounge chairs under umbrellas, drinks, food and beer. I was walking along when I spied this head on a stick.

No telling what you might find along Pattaya, Thailand's Beach Road

Fortunately for all involved, it’s not an actual human head, but a not quite reasonable facsimile thereof. Had it been an actual head, I’m sure it would have put a damper on my day. Rather creepily enough, however, it is realistic enough that it triggered the facial recognition in the camera software I use in my Nokia N8.

Why is there a manikin head on a stick? Well, as you can see it has its hair braided in beads. One of the many services on offer on Pattaya Beach is this: while you sip cool coconut juice on a lounge chair under an umbrella while you gaze out to sea, you can get your hair braided; the head serves as both advertisement and example.

Just for kicks, here’s a detail of the manikin’s face. I may have to play around with this image. …

Serving as a manikin is a tough life ...

Potted Plants as Sculpture

Photo a Day: the Potted Plant Sculpture Guardian

In this vacant lot outside the Ratchawithi BTS skytrain station — the one that is bordered by the hella rad graffiti featured in the Photo a Day a few days ago — resides this, er, sculpture. I’m not sure what it is or what it may or may not represent, but it is the only sculpture I’ve ever seen that utilizes potted plants as a medium. Huzzah.

potted plant sculpture outside the Ratchewithi, Bangkok, Thailand

Soi Dogs? What of Soi Cats

Photo a Day: Window, Soi Cat and ATM

A soi cat relaxing on a window sill in Bangkok

While soi dogs are more visible, there are many stray cats around Thailand’s urban areas — so-called soi cats. I suppose the pooches are more visible than the kitties just because that’s the natures of the beasts, as it were.

And no, even though they are Siamese (if you please) cats in a very real sense, they don’t look Siamese, as it were. Somewhat ironic, that, I suppose.

Anyway, this cat is somewhat unusual — and makes me wonder if he or she actually has someone looking after it — as its tail is intact. Seeing a soi cat with a full-length, non-mangled tail is a rare thing., it seems, poor dears. This one does look rather healthy, too. But then soi cats generally seem to be a bit better off than the dogs, perhaps not relying so much on human food handouts.

Anyway, this kittie seemed nervous that some unknown homo sapien was suddenly paying attention to it, but managed to stay still long enough for me to get a shot (albeit with a somewhat soft focus).

Just going to take this opportunity to plug the various animal shelters/welfare organizations here. A notable one, SCAD, recently closed its doors for financial reasons, but maintains a list of other organizations; follow the link above.

Photo a Day: Hella Rad Graffiti

There’s Graffiti, and Then There’s Art

An example of some of the amazing graffiti art to be found around Bangkok, Thailand

This definitely falls into the latter category; it’s not just graffiti. I spied this today while on my way to Pantip Plaza in Bangkok to get my nerd on. Actually I had some time to kill as traffic was so bad at lunch time, it took my bus an hour to traverse a route that usually only takes 20 minutes in the afternoons or late mornings.

Missed my first class and had to stick around to make it up with an evening class. D’oh!

Such is life in the Big Mango. Anyway, when I first moved to Thailand in 2010 it didn’t seem like Bangkok had much in the way of artistic graffiti. Or maybe I just didn’t get around the city that much, since I didn’t actually live here at the time. But I’ve seen some other incredible examples of graffiti that I want to photograph.

Can you spot the Thai lady talking on the phone in this photograph? Or the other farang guy photographing the wall? Oh, here’s a few detail crops for you (click to see full size):

a detail from some amazing graffiti art in Bangkok, Thailand

a detail from some amazing graffiti art in Bangkok, Thailand

┬áP.S. I felt justified in backdating since my whole day’s schedule got screwed to hell. So there.

Photo A Day: Tree Altar

All the World’s an Altar

In Thailand where the ancient religion of Buddhism is mixed with even older beliefs and traditions, it is not uncommon to find altars in seemingly unlikely places — unlikely to a foreigner, that is. Most Thai-owned houses and businesses will have one, but one will also find impromptu altars on the sidewalk outside of a business or home, or even nestled at the trunk of a tree, like the one below. Sometimes they are quite elaborate; others may be quite simple.

This one is actually found at the base of a tree in a little garden surrounded by a shopping mall.

An altar nestled at the base of a tree outside a Thai shopping mall.

P.S. Yes, I missed yesterday, again. What can I say? Visiting with my Irish lads took precedence; as they are on their way tomorrow (much to the relief of my liver).

Photo a Day: Escargot On My Stoop

The French Aren’t the Only Ones …

… that eat snails, little dude/dudette (do snails even have gender in the traditional binary sense?). Thais eat snails too. So you had better haul ass as best you can. I spied this molluscular (not so) little fellow (I’ll make the assumption for style, sexist though it might be) on the steps leading up onto the deck in front of my apartment building here in Bang Plat, Bangkok Thailand.

A snail on my stoop, in Bangkok Thailand

It was spitting rain and had been for some time when I got home tonight, and just like back home, the wet weather brings out the gastropods. I almost stepped on the (not so) little guy.

And here’s my size 10.5 (American — about a 43 the way the Brits/Euros reckon it) foot by way of comparison (yep, still rocking the Vibram Fivefingers; wish they still made these in leather; I was lucky to find these in my size while I was home last November).

My foot and a snail on my stoop, Bangkok Thailand

I was going to dip into the travel archives for today’s Photo a Day, but then I spied this guy on my way into my apartment. I’m really pleased with these images, considering they were taken with my phone. The Nokia N8 is capable of spectacular detail (for a phone’s image sensor), as you can see.

Seriously, click on those and look at them full-size and revel in the detail. Then imagine how the originals look on my monitor. Huzzah.

Highways Are Like Airports

Highways Look the Same the World Over

Highway 7: on the Road to Bangkok, Thailand

North America, Europe, Asia — I’ve never been to South America or Africa, but I’ll wager highways and expressways look the same there, too. It’s one of those instances when one is traveling abroad that strikes you — not because of the differences, but because of the mundane sameness. One expects a foreign land to be … well, foreign.

But like airports, some things lend themselves to the logic of design replication. Even when you see the palm trees or banana trees here, the highways could be U.S. Interstates in the Deep South somewhere. The only indication one gets here — other than the obvious one of being on the left side of the road — is the road signs are, naturally, in Thai. Although as you can see here, they also bear English, and are strikingly similar to their cousins elsewhere in the world.

Highway 7: on the Road to Bangkok, Thailand

Of course as you get closer to Bangkok on Highway 7 things begin to take on a bit of a telltale Thai appearance:

Highway 7: on the Road to Bangkok, Thailand

Sorry for the dirty windshield, but then I was just a passenger. And again, not trying to make art, just illustrate a fact of expat life. As always click ’em to see ’em big.

Fountain and Reindeer Head in HDR

You Just Never Know What You’ll Find in Thailand

A fountain and reindeer head at the Avenue shopping center, Pattaya, Thailand.

The above is a high dynamic range (HDR) image; the original images were shot with my Nokia N8 and combined and subsequently edited in Photoshop. Below is an alternate crop of the same image, and an alternate HDR processing.

Yes, that’s two Photo a Day entries for the price of one. Only here at the Gecko’s Bark, kids.

A fountain and reindeer head at the Avenue shopping center, Pattaya, Thailand.