High-rises and Holidays

soil and thread

Back from our whir of newly engaged bliss in Koh Mook, we threw ourselves into celebrations in Bangkok.

From the open air rooftop deck of one of the tallest buildings in the city, we ordered love inspired cocktails and toasted to our life ahead and to always living as though we were on top of the world. The brilliant setting sun joined us directly across the sky, glistening off the buildings and dancing among the clouds.

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After watching the sun light up the sky, we took a boat to Calypso Cabaret and watched showgirls (and boys) light up the stage. They put on a fabulous performance, and if we didn’t know beforehand that the starletts were actually men dressed in drag, we may have never known. The costumes were fit for Broadway and the classic showtunes, modern hits, and traditional songs were all executed with pop and pizazz. The red velvet theatre curtains and table lamps added to the allure of the night. In addition to the show being thoroughly entertaining, I was proud to see the performers accepted so heartily, both at the show and as every day people on the streets.

soil and thread

The real zaniness of the city came alive for us in the stalls of the Chatuchack Weekend Market. The largest weekend market in all of the world, Chatuchak inundated over 35 acres with baubles of all kinds and each curio had its own section. Trendy clothing shops ruled one domain, while artists selling original paintings commanded another. Food and drink stalls permeated every block, with some being much more entertaining than others. The vendor of one coconut stand violently chopped flying coconuts and turned them into drinking vessels for thirsty onlookers, all while yelping like a banshee. Another man perfected the art of gravity-enhanced pouring techniques, twirling and swirling along with your coffee while it flung mid-air and landed smoothly into its container.

soil and thread

soil and threadsoil and threadAt one point we were stuck in a maze of exotic animals for sale and saw sugar gliders, marmoset monkeys, flying squirrels, turtles, rabbits, snakes, fish, and puppies. It was quite sad seeing the conditions they lived under and we escaped as soon as we found a way out.

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The Siam Square district had block after block of high-end malls to rival the extravagance of Las Vegas. Art installations from fashion moguls like Vogue lined the glitzy hallways and swishy modern relaxation zones graced each nook and cranny. One of the largest aquariums in Asia was housed on the basement floor of one mall, karaoke and bowling occupied the top floor of another, and each mall had its own set of 3D movie theatres decked out with lay-z-boy chairs and optional foot massages. Interactive displays competed for shoppers attention amongst the Guccis and Cartiers. We stopped in one corridor where a tablet was displayed for people to create their own drawing which was then broadcast across a huge balloon in the mall. We scripted, “We got engaged!”, stood in front of the balloon for a picture, and everyone began cheering and congratulating us.

soil and thread

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After running full speed  through Bangkok, we settled into a slower paced Saigon. We arrived just in time for Tet Lunar New Year, and the usual fast-paced city life of Saigon was replaced by customary preparations to properly welcome the new year. The city was made yellow by all of the blooming hoa mai trees for sale in the streets and journeying home atop motorcycles.

soil and thread

soil and thread

Houses and streets were thoroughly cleaned to enter the new year with a fresh start. Paper was burned as an offering to ancestors past. Special cookies and candied fruits were bought for the new year, and we were fortunate enough to be asked to join in the candy fest with our hotel owner. It was a real treat. From our room in the center of all the celebrations we could hear the drumming of dragon parades and ran out to the streets to catch each performance.

soil and thread

soil and thread

soil and thread

soil and threadWe also walked through the national floral displays that spanned four city blocks and were filled with flower arrangements depicting scenes from across the nation. Rice paddies, shoreline scenes, highland depictions, native animals, and more were all standing tall to represent their country in an abundance of flowers.

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The year of the snake looked to be another grand one. With everyone around us looking forward to the blessings of a new lunar year, we recounted our highest highlights and lowest lowlights of four and half months in Asia, and prepared for the new year on a new continent.

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8 thoughts on “High-rises and Holidays

  1. Nicholas says:

    the year of the snake – google’s chinese horoscope says – “snakes love to vacation”, “the friends they make last a lifetime” and “the year of the snake is a good omen because your family will not starve”. wow – these chinese horoscopes are the real deal. hope you two are picking up great treasures along the way – i can tell from all the pics that all Lee really needs is grace and a funny looking shirt and he will be happy forever 🙂 love you two!

  2. Halppen says:

    As always magnificent pictures; awesome cityscapes and incredible massive floral arrangements! Adored your own “art installation” of “We are engaged” and everyone celebrating in your happiness! Lee in the Tea House in the Log chair was perfectly fitting for the man who likes to hang out in the woods…. Love and missing you both terribly. Enjoy the remaining 51 days of a remarkable journey around the globe. XOXOXO Mamacita!
    PS – Nicholas love the story of the year of the snake; very fitting for our lovebirds!

  3. Anne Cutler says:

    That coffee picture is ridiculous! Absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to hear more of your tales. And I love, love, love that all the mall-goers gave you a cheer:)

  4. Alexis says:

    Love the tales and pics of bustling Bangkok – did you all try any of the insects? Saigon was the place for holidays this year – Christmas and Tet New Year! Yet again, you two got it right with a perfect high-note to end your Asian adventures! I hope I was missed a little while in Saigon, round two 🙂

  5. Carol & John Lang says:

    Hi, Dominique & Lee,
    We are just enchanted with your travels, photos, & tales and are looking very forward to hearing about your latest destination.
    Your old neighbors,
    Carol & John Lang

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