Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fireworks have been going off all night, but they intensified half an hour ago, at midnight Saturday, or New Year's Eve according to the Lunar calendar. You could see them in three directions, from a dozen different locations just from my apartment windows. Gong Xi Fa Cai, or Chun Jie Kuai Le, everyone has been saying. The nightsky is cloudy with smoke, and I can't take any decent pictures.

Spent a long weekend in Bangkok last week with friends who crammed in everything possible in three days: pomelo salad with tamarind, shrimp cakes, sea crab with yellow curry, mango and sticky rice. In the markets, there were laquered bowls made of eggshells, turquoise rings from Afghanistan, sieves made from pierced coconut shells and amulets of all kinds to ward off bad spirits and bring job success. Above, photos of Thailand on sale on the street near the Jim Thompson House.

Vendor wrapping betel nuts, which are palm nuts from the areca tree, believed by some locals to cure headache, fever, even venereal disease. The leaves are apparently mildly intoxicating, especially with lime paste.

Mango and sticky rice: amazing. The mangoes here are unlike any I've had elsewhere. Intense flavor, ever ripe, never stringy.

Purple crabs for sale on the street - in plastic bags.

The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, Bangkok's largest and oldest temple.

Resin Buddhas and resin Buddhas coated with silver, at the amulet market.