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A new blog of interest that I hope to see more of is written by a gay Thai who has taken it upon himself to provide insight into Thai culture and the Thai mind on behalf of farang, especially those looking for a relationship with a Thai guy. He is not a native English speaker, but does a pretty good job of getting his points across as long as you don’t get too tied up in the metaphors and details he attempts to use. If nothing else, his posts on Must Know Facts About Thai Gays are an unique on-line voice.
There’s a new study out that reports only 38% of men sleep nude with their partner. WTF??? If you do and he doesn’t want to, here’s 8 Reasons You Should Sleep Naked.
Something naughty that you’ve done been weighing on your soul? Not into organized religion enough to make a visit to your local priest for absolution? No problemo: There is a new site that started up this year where you can confess your dastardly deeds and internet surfers then vote on whether to absolve or condemn you. There’s a link to the site here, but if you’d rather just laugh at others’ tales of shame, they’ve already pulled together the 15 Funniest Creative Confessions.
Where is the best place in Bangkok to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Um, maybe Chinatown? Despite the recent crackdown on fireworks and open fires, Chinatown is still ablaze during the lunar new year period. I’ve noticed posts showing up on the forums recently asking where is the best place to catch the festivities, but unless a lion makes its way into a gogo bar, that’s probably not info most posters have to share. For those of you too lazy to Google it . . .
Ink is all the rage these days, but I didn’t know a tat could also give you a raging hard-on. Uh, don’t try this one at home boys.
Exploring farther afield using the riverboats in Bangkok is one of my goals and Wat Sangkhatan and its serene setting sounds like a nice outing for an afternoon, not to mention for this week’s addition to Places In Thailand Jabba Has Never Hear Of.
It’s from two years ago, but TV Pool conducted a poll of the top 10 Thai actors that local gay guys lust after the most, and even two year old eye candy is worth a look.
Though it’s not rocket science, for newbies to Thailand figuring out how to use a song thaew can be confusing at first. This is a great little guide and useful for most areas of the country even though it is written specifically for Chiang Mai.
Because despite how well they may have done at the Games male Olympians still get the gold for showing off their award winning physiques months later: Anthony Ogogo recently caused a lot of hearts – and other body parts – to swell thanks to his appearance on a UK reality tv show. Not to be outdone, cute GB diver Chris Mears joined a few other Olympians and entertainment personalities in the latest issue of Gay Times, sans bathing suit both on one of the covers and in a layout. Chris – who has a gorgeous ass – unfortunately seems to actually be straight, but he mentioned that he has many gay fans. As well as a few gay friends thanks to Tom Daley. Huh.
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Whether by myself, with friends, or just with Noom, I always stay within walking distance of the Tha Pae Gate when visiting Chiang Mai. Usually, just across the street at what once was called The Montri and is now trying to brand itself as the Hotel M. It is a convenient, centralized location with plenty of restaurants, bars, and night life. And the plaza just in front of the gate is a great place to kick back and people watch. It may not quite rival St. Mark’s Square in Venice, but it’s also a good place to commune with pigeons.
Even when travelling alone I manage to spend a few hours on the plaza. When travelling with Noom, there’s little chance of missing that pleasure. If there is an hour or two to kill he always wants to go feed the birds. Even if we’ve already done that several times during that trip already. The food sold by an old guy in a rickety cart is supposed to be for the fish in the moat; sometimes they get a bit of Noom’s attention but the birds always get the bulk of food. I don’t think it’s so much that he prefers birds over fish, but rather once he has a humongous flock of birds surrounding him, some little kid will come along and want to play. Noom wears the child within him on his sleeve. It’s one of the things I love about him.
There is a 7/11 across the street from the plaza, and another just down the street from Hotel M. They are about the same distance away from the hotel. When we are in the room and I decide I need something from 7/11, Noom always asks which one I’m going to. If it’s the one down the street, he rolls over for nap. If it’s the store across from the plaza, he goes with me. At least as far as the plaza. Then while I pick up whatever it was I needed, he buys a bag of fish food and starts playing with the birds. On those occasions, it’s a quick feeding frenzy. He’s done by the time I get back.
Knowing that feeding fish and birds is a form of merit making, at least at temples, I asked him once, “Merit making?”
His answer was short and to the point. “No,” he said. “It fun.”
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In a recent post I mentioned the Thai use of 108 to mean ‘lots and lots.’ Since that concept really goes beyond that colloquial usage, I thought it would make for an interesting post. And I’m sure it will one day. In the same post I noted that to Thais numbers are not just numbers. Some are lucky. Some are not. Many represent something more than the digits you’re familiar with. An example is a comment made by Cee Jay about seeing a mass gathering of monks in Chiang Mai recently, some 12,999 of them. I asked if someone knew why whenever there is a large gathering of saffron that the number is always one short of being even. Alex had the answer. See? You really do need to read the comments on this blog!
Numbers often have a significance in Thailand that comes from Buddhist teachings, myth, and lore. Farang who run across them may never bother to question why, Thais seldom wonder why either because they already know. And then there are those that you don’t even notice.
Wat Pho and its Reclining Buddha is a major draw in Bangkok for touri and locals alike. On of the more popular photo-ops is standing at the Buddha’s feet for a shot that takes in the length of the 150 foot long statue. The soles of the Buddha’s feet are decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay, 108 different designs depicting auspicious Buddhist symbols, like flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers, and altar accessories.
After getting your picture taken at the Buddha’s feet, the second most popular activity at Wat Pho involves dropping coins into a long line of metal alms bowls that stretch along the length of the Buddha on the southern side of the wiharn. And yup, there are 108 bowls. At the beginning there is a table where you can purchase a cup filled with satang for your offerings. The pot of coins runs 20 baht and there is supposed to be just enough for you to drop one coin in each bowl. The general belief is that this merit making activity brings good luck, longevity, and good fortune. Some say if you have just enough coins to drop one in each bowl it’s a sign of good luck, others that if after dropping a coin in each you have one left over it means you’ll have good luck. Or at least a satang’s worth.
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If you are in Bali and want to do some serious shopping for local arts and crafts, despite its reputation Pasar Kumbasari in Denpasar is not the place to go. And while you may be able to barter for a tacky souvenir for a price a bit cheaper than you’ll get elsewhere on the island, Kumbasari’s neighbor – equally touted as the place to shop – Pasar Badung is not the answer either.
Located right next to each other, separated only by the Badung River, and with seven floors of shops combined, you’d think these two markets would be a shopaholic’s paradise. But both are more traditional markets and both exist to serve the local populace, not the touri crowd. Pasar Badung is the more popular of the two, lower floors of the market are filled with vendors selling meat, fish, fruit, and veggies. The upper floors are for spices and traditional Balinese and Muslim attire as well as Balinese ceremonial equipment such as umbrellas and baskets. Pasar Kumbasari, on the other hand, is purely an art market, stocking sarongs, paintings, textiles, woodcarvings, and other souvenir items, few of which are made in Bali.
While neither market offers much for the average touri shopping-wise, a visit to the area is still worth your time. Photo-ops abound and the color of a traditional Balinese market makes for a memorable outing. The ground floor areas of Pasar Badung are a maze of Balinese ladies preparing and selling traditional Balinese snack foods battling for space along the narrow aisles with fruit sellers and flower vendors. It’s a riotous mix of scents and colors and a much better view of how the locals live – and shop – than you’ll find in the island’s heavily touristed areas.
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