I have been about a month in Thailand and it is about time I posted. I arrived in Bangkok On January 7 . I have spent about two weeks in Bangkok and 10 days in Chumpon visiting my uncle and about a week at an old Thai archeological site called Sukothai, a bit north of here.
First off, It is hot here,. hot and humid at least in the south. It probably took me a couple weeks to get over the jet lag and adjust to the heat induced lethargy, which seems to be pretty typical for visitors here. There was a foot of snow on the ground when I left and suddenly I was confronted with 90 degrees and very high humidity.
At first I really couldn’t paint. It was just too uncomfortable and tiring. But after the first couple weeks I started and some work. But I am careful to avoid sun in the afternoon and just generally stay in the shade.
And Bangkok! A more frenetic place on can not imagine. Of American cities it is most like New York, but not so clean :). Traffic is extremely heavy and it is filthy, in parts. Really there are two cities here; one for the rich, which is really a western city in terms of developement. There are lots of newer highrises as well as real slums, although not dangerous.
There is extreme poverty here and extreme wealth. For instance last night a street-walker approached me and offered herself for about $15 at first, and then worked her way down to less than $2 as I walked past. It was heartbreaking. But last week I paid $8 dollars to see “Avatar” in 3D in a mall that would put most malls in the US to shame.
I also spent some time in southern Thailand. My Uncle has a country house there and it is a quiet place . I had my own little house and it was near the beach. I had a nice time with my uncle and he helped me adjust to Thailand. We also built a wet painting carrying case, and I am grateful for the time he spent. I also learned how to ride a scooter. Later when I was in Sukothai I rented one for a few days which really made painting more productive. That is something I highly recommend as it really frees one up when you have lots of painting stuff to transport in the heat.
In Sukothai , which is a very pretty park of a former civilizations capital city. I was able to get some drawings and oil sketches done there. It was very different from the rest of Thailand, because of rather minimal traffic and general cleanliness. I did some work in Bangkok as well and one sketch in Chumpon. I’ll try to get some work up on the next post.
My bottom line on Thailand is unimpressed. The city’s and towns are to congested and dirty and just plain ugly for the most part. Some market scenes and older streets are real exceptions. It is also to hot to paint comfortably for this thick blooded northerner. North is cooler and I am now going to Cambodia to more heat, but to eventually work my way up the Mekong river to the north of Laos and possibly Hanoi or even southern China.