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BANGKOK (NEW PHOTOS)

July 20, 2011

Looking for luck in Bangkok by Maxine Kumin. (A Poem)

Often at markets I see
people standing in line
to walk under an elephant.
They count out a few coins,
then crouch to slip beneath
the wrinkly umbrella that smells
of dust and old age
and a thousand miracles.

They unfold on the other side
blessed with long life,
good luck, solace from grief,
unruly children, and certain
liver complaints.

Conspicuous Caucasian,
I stoop to take my turn.
The feet of my elephant are stout
as planted pines.
His trunk completes
this honest structure,
this tractable, tusked,
and deeply creased
endangered shelter.

I squat in his aromatic shade
reminded of stale bedclothes,
my mother’s pantry shelves
of cloves and vinegar,
as if there were no world of drought,
no parasites, no ivory poachers,
My good luck running in
as his runs out.

Bangkok is the capital, largest urban area and primary city of Thailand. Known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Thai: กรุงเทพมหานคร, pronounced [krūŋ tʰêːp máhǎː nákʰɔ̄ːn] ( listen)), or กรุงเทพฯ Krung Thep (About this sound [listen]) (help·info), meaning “city of angels” for short, it was originally a small trading post on the west bank of the lower Chao Phraya River during the Ayutthaya Kingdom. It became the capital in 1768 after the destruction of Ayutthaya by Burmese invaders. However, the current Rattanakosin Kingdom did not begin until 1782, when the capital was moved to the east bank of the river by Rama I following the death of King Taksin. The city is more formally called “Phra Nakhon” (Thai: พระนคร), referring to the original boundaries of the 18th century, while the name Krungthep Mahanakorn includes the urban areas which have since grown. Foreigners generally call the city by its original name of Bangkok.

Because of its strategic location in Southeast Asia, Siam (later Thailand) acted as a buffer-zone between the French and British colonial empires. Bangkok itself has gained a reputation as an independent, dynamic and influential city. Bangkok is the political, social and economic centre of Thailand, and one of the leading cities in Southeast Asia.

Due to the 1980s and 1990s Asian investment boom, many multinational corporations make their regional headquarters in Bangkok and the city is a regional force in finance and business. Its increasing influence on global politics, culture, fashion and entertainment underlines its status as an Alpha global city.[1] In 2009, it was the second most expensive city in South-East Asia behind Singapore.[2]

The city’s many cultural landmarks and attractions in addition to its nightlife venues has made it synonymous with exoticism. Its rapid modernization, reflected in the cityscape and the urban society, has left untouched the historic Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Vimanmek Palace Complex, hundreds of Buddhist temples, and the city’s illegal (but tolerated) red-light districts draw about 10 million international visitors each year, second only to London.[3]

Bangkok has an official population of 9,100,000 residents, while the greater Bangkok area continues some 11,971,000 (January 2008).[4] The capital is in a heavily urbanized triangle of central and eastern Thailand, which stretches from Nakhon Ratchasima to the heavily Industrialized Eastern Seaboard. Bangkok borders five other provinces: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom, and all five provinces are joined in the conurbation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. It is served by two international airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport, four rapid transit lines.

An elaborate network of canals known as khlongs gave Bangkok the nickname “Venice of the East” at a time when most transportation was by boat. Today, nearly all of the canals have been filled in and converted into streets. While many khlongs still exist with people living along them and markets often being operated along the banks, most are severely polluted.[19] A notable khlong market is the floating market in Taling Chan district. Through downtown Bangkok runs the Khlong Saen Saeb, which has a canal boat service. The wide river Chao Phraya, flowing through the city, has several cross-river ferries and the Chao Phraya Express Boat with as many as thirty stops along the both banks extending as far as the northern suburb of Nonthaburi.

JIM THOMPSON HOUSE - This former home of an American named Jim Thompson, who started the Thai silk industry after World War II, houses a magnificent collection of Asian art and many unique displays.

LIFE ALONG THE KHLONGS (CANALS)

LIFE ALONG THE KHLONGS (CANALS)

LIFE ALONG THE KHLONGS (CANALS)

LIFE ALONG THE KHLONGS (CANALS)

LIFE ALONG THE KHLONGS (CANALS)

LIFE ALONG THE KHLONGS (CANALS)

LIFE ALONG THE KHLONGS (CANALS)

LIFE ALONG THE KHLONGS (CANALS)

Wat Suthat Thep Wararam, Bangkok, Thailand (IN THE BACKGROUND)

WAT PHO (TEMPLE OF THE RECLINING BUDDHA)

WAT PHO (TEMPLE OF THE RECLINING BUDDHA)

Phra Maha Chedi Group, Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha),Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

SEATED HERMIT (PHYSICIAN) Wat Phra Kaew Temple                                                                                                                                                 SEATED HERMIT  (PHYSICIAN)  Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha),

YAK (A MYTHICAL GIANT) GRAND PALACE, BANGKOK

Kinnon - mythological creature, half bird, half man

GUARDS AT THE ROYAL PALACE

 

 

PHOTOS BY:

LEONARD EPSYEIN

JANELLE BURGESS

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2 Comments leave one →
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