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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Andaman Sea

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chatuchak Weekend Market - Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market
The Chatuchak Market (JJ) is one of the world’s largest weekend markets.
It covers an area of almost 30 Acres, is divided into 28 different sections & contains more than 15.000 booths selling goods from all over Thailand. You can imagine my face when I stepped out of the BTS train and saw this huge market…jaw dropping. The Chatuchak Market is a very popular shopping destination for Thais but has also become very popular with tourists. Thais from all over the country come here to buy goods for their local shop. Each day, about 200.000 visitors come here (30 % tourists). You can pretty much find everything there, from books to antiques to live animals and plants.

Yes, Chatuchak Makret sounds like a true shopper’s delight. For me, it was much less than that; not only am I not a fan of huge gatherings, but also the entire area was simply too large. As soon as we stepped out of the BTS train, the crowds started showing up. The way from the BTS station to the entrance of the market was maybe only 100 meters, yet it took us almost 15 minutes to get there. Viewing the market from above (from the bridge from the BTS station to the market area) still made it all quite clear but as soon as we were down in the crowd, our orientation got lost. I suggest that you go with the flow, because otherwise you’re just going to struggle. They’ll lead you somewhere anyway.

TIPS.

Chances of getting lost in the crowd are high. If you’re there with a friend, make sure you conclude a meeting point before.

Wear comfy shoes; you’ll walk a lot.

Drink, drink, drink…you’ll sweat like a pig so keep your water level high!

FACTS.

Opening hours: Wednesday-Thursday (Plants & Flowers) 6.00 am – 6.00 pm. Friday (Wholesale day) 6.00 am – 6.00 pm. Saturday-Sunday (Miscellaneous) 6.00 am – 6.00 pm.

How to get there: Skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station; take exit no. 1 and follow the crowd.

What to find there: Ah well, you’ve 30 Acres of pretty much everything you need (or don’t need).
 

Friday, July 5, 2013

VIETNAM - the timeless charm

54 ethnic groups of Vietnam - the Dao ethnic group

Dao people originally came from China, immigrating between the 12th or 13th century and the early 20th century. They claim themselves descendants of Ban House (Ban vuong), a famous and holy legendary personality.

Dao communities cultivate swidden fields, rocky hollows, and wet -rice paddies. These cultivation activities play a dominant role among different groups and areas. Dao Quan Trang (white trousers) people, Dao Ao Dai (long tunic) and Dao Thanh Y (blue clothes) specialize in wet-rice cultivation. Dao Do (Red Dao) people mostly cultivate in rocky hollows. Other Dao groups are nomadic, others are settled agriculturists. Popular crops are rice, corn and vegetables, such as gourds, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes. They raise buffaloes, cows, pigs, chickens, horses, goats in the middle regions of mountains and highland areas.

Cotton farming and weaving are popular among the Dao groups. They prefer garments dyed indigo. Most village wards have forge kilns serving for farming tools repairing. In some places, people make matchlock and flint-lock rifles and cast-iron bullets. The silversmith trade, handed down through generations, mostly produces necklaces, earrings, rings, silvers chains, and betel nut boxes.

Dao Do (Red Dao) and Dao Tien (Coin or Money) groups are well-known makers of traditional paper. The paper is used when writing history, story and song books, when making petitions, when sending money for funeral services, and on other occasions. Other Dao groups are noted for pressing certain fruits to extract oils which they use to illuminate their lamps. Sugarcane is also refined.

Dao religious beliefs include traditional practices and agricultural rituals mixed with elements of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Ban vuong is considered the earliest ancestor of the Dao people, so he is worshiped together with the ancestors of the family. In Dao tradition, all grown-up men must pass an initiation rite, cap sac, which expresses the traits of Taoism and the ancient rituals.

Dao people use the lunar calendar for all of their activities.