Against my better judgment I went to see Siam Niramit, a musical and visual extravaganza on the art and cultural heritage of Thailand. It came highly recommended and it did live up to my reluctant expectations. Seating about 2000 it featured over 100 performers, 500 gorgeous costumes, two elephants and 7 goats 😄. The special effects and technology had me mesmerized from beginning to end. It told the history of the ancient kingdom of Lanna in the north, the integration of Chinese and other cultures into Thailand’s fabric as traders came over the south sea, the magnificence of the old capital of Ayudhya, and finished with captivating segments on heaven, hell and the festivals of Thailand.
I also loved visiting the Jim Thompson house and museum. Jim Thompson, an American fell in love with Thailand during a stint in the army and he devoted himself to reviving the Thai silk cottage industry. He also combined six 200 year old Thai teak homes into a traditional open air residence and on a spring day deemed auspicious by astrologers moved in 1959. The poor man did not enjoy its antique grandeur for long as he disappeared on a trip to the central highlands of Malaysia. Though they never found him it’s safe to presume he is not alive as he would be 108.
The silk is gorgeous and certainly of a different texture and feel than the countless scarves and sarongs sold in the local markets.
We took the mandatory canal trip off the Chao Phraya River but extremely high waters off the gulf of Thailand made it impossible to navigate the 200+ smaller canals that give Bangkok its moniker Venice of the east.
And of course the culinary delights continued with authentic Thai food though the latest feast at Apinara left the tastebuds scorched and on fire!
I have to comment on the total devotion to the Royal family and its King and Queen. King Bhumibol and Queen Sikrit are worshipped with such an intensity I am totally blown away. I had known about it from news reports but seeing it is a totally different experience. The King has reigned for 67 years since ascending the throne at 19 and is so beloved that every street and thoroughfare is plastered with huge portraits and photographs. However, he is ill and there is near paranoia about his fate. Our cultural show started with the 1000+ crowd standing for the Royal anthem which played against a backdrop of his life and service to his people. The adulation was palpable and sprang from the screen.
We leave early for Malaysia tomorrow and I leave this post with a better depiction of the emerald Buddha. His appearance changes three times a year when the royal family rotate his pure gold robes to mark the passage of the previous season and herald in the new one.
Adios till next time!!