Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Straight outa' Bangkok (Llama)
A couple of pictures for you guys. I've been carrying these around with me for months and never got around to dumping them from my phone till now. But they were taken with you in mind :)
First off we have good 'ole Ronald McDonald. When I got here I found this curious, and other people have commented on it, so I present it to you. What's interesting about his is that Ronald isn't waving, like he does in the US, but Wai'ing, which is the traditional Thai form of greeting. Don't think that just because this isn't the US that McDonalds are any less prevalent. True, Ray Kroc has yet to open one in your average rural Thai village, but they are everywhere in Bangkok. And each one has a Ronald. KFC is everywhere too, with the Colonel. He doesn't wai, but I'm sure his eyes are more slanted than in the US. The only Western establishment more common that KFC and McDonalds is Starbucks. To my knowledge, I am within about 5 minutes walking distance of 4 different Starbucks. I say to my knowledge because there's probably at least one more that I haven't yet discovered. The old joke is true here... I can stand at the door of one Starbucks, look across the street and see another.
Second up is a picture of King Rama V... the most beloved of all Thai kings, and that is saying alot. Rama V is the one that fostered good relations with the West at a time when all his neighbors were being occupied by colonial forces. By giving up a little land here and there, and playing the colonizers against each other (I think the French and Dutch were the main ones...), he managed to make Thailand the only country in South East Asia to have never been under foreign rule. He's also the one that is portrayed in 'The King and I', which I haven't seen, but I understand is somewhat denigrating. Anyway, here's an old picture of him.
What I like about it is that it shows him cooking.... not exactly the typical image one sees of kings. He's got his shirt off, even. But he still manages to appear wise and fair-minded.
This picture is framed and hanging outside a food stall that I frequent.
Anyway, just a couple of small details about life in Bangok.