First, happy Thanksgiving everyone! I did not actually find turkey in Bangkok (not very common here), but I did stuff myself on a variety of local foods. 🙂
Sorry for the radio silence this past week…I was hit by an uncontrollable hunting urge and (since I was stuck in Bangkok anyway) spent most of the week methodically tracking down and purchasing obscure and random items. (People who think women aren’t natural hunters have obviously never seen us in the grips of shopping mania. 😉 )
Anyway, I now have a set of woodcarving tools and about 20 lbs of exotic woods (my landlady thinks I’m crazy, but what else is new?), including one chunk of teak, one chunk of something called maka, and one chunk of um, well, *something*. I also have a couple more books on Thai textiles, some homemade origami paper (two sheets of tissue paper sandwiched with heavy-duty aluminum foil), and (thanks to Mary Beth) ten more drop spindle whorls (the first one wore out). Not to mention the charkha-thing.
If you are thinking, “How on earth is Tien going to carry all this around??” –well, so am I. I’m currently having some problems shipping the charkha (spinning wheel), so i’ll probably leave the heavier stuff at the guesthouse until I come back to Bangkok for the body painting. By then hopefully I’ll have tracked down someone who can ship things for me.
I have also established that I am not moving to Bangkok permanently, though I am thinking about working here for a couple of months–the UN has some very interesting Third-World development projects that need project coordinators, and I think I might be able to talk my way into one of those positions. (Behold project management: a universally portable skill!) Haven’t decided yet, will put that off until I’m nearly done traveling. But, inasmuch as there appears to be no Valrhona chocolate anywhere in Bangkok (I’ve been hopping through the expensive Western-style shopping malls, etc. in search of it), there’s no chance I’ll settle here permanently. Life without my favorite chocolate just isn’t worth it.
(I have a dim memory that La Maison du Chocolat may have a shop in Bangkok. If so, then I might reconsider…but it’s really not the same as making your own.)
Meanwhile, I’ve asked Jim to ship me some. I really should have brought it with me, but…
I’ve also spun a few more skeins of silk, and gotten a little further on one or two of my essays, but mostly I’ve just hung around and done not much of anything. It’s nice to take some time off from traveling.
But, I’m gearing up to head out again…probably to Chiang Mai. Richard has introduced me to two of his friends up there, one of whom does alternative AIDS therapies (ozone etc.) and one of whom (I kid you not) runs some kind of animal preserve, where she teaches communication with animals, meditation, and communication with space aliens.
Both of them sound like really interesting characters–well worth meeting in their own right–and the alternative AIDS therapy guy also knows a bunch of people in the textile handcrafts business. Ooh! My hands are twitching. Must go talk shop with silkweavers…
So anyway, I had planned to go to Laos, but since I have to be back in Bangkok on Wednesday, and need to be here tomorrow for the Weekend Market, I think I’ll probably go to Chiang Mai for a couple of days.
About the body painting: this is shaping up to be really exciting. (Okay, body painting is never dull, but.) We’ve roughed out a basic design, with a lot of details still to be filled in. Central feature is a pair of hooded monocled cobras running up the torso, with a third cobra as the centerpiece of the “bikini bottom”; above the cobras is some sort of metallic breastplate (gold/bronze), extending out over the shoulders. Arms and legs wrapped in “razor wire” a la Witchblade (with possibly some armored bracelets), not sure yet what we’re doing for boots and gloves. If you know interesting superheroes, I still need some. (Handy thing about Spandex: it’s body-tight, thus easily duplicated in body painting.)
Haven’t decided on face/hair either; one of my tasks for the weekend is to hit the Weekend Market in search of interesting hair ornaments/necklaces/props. Bones, shark teeth, shells, cobra leather, swords/daggers, skulls, ??? –should make for an interesting day of shopping. I also need a tiara/headband of some sort–I really want a circlet with a crescent moon, but I don’t think I can find one in Bangkok, at least not on short notice. In San Francisco, of course, it’d be easy, but…
I’m also looking for hand props…suggestions? I’m thinking a curved dagger would be nice, or maybe one of those cheap Chinese sword replicas. Richard keeps suggesting a two-handed sword–I think that might be a bit much, given that they’re bigger than I am, but what do you think? Or maybe a nice big thighbone. I don’t know where I’d find one of those, but I’m firmly of the belief that you can find (almost) anything in Bangkok.
Anyway, if you have ideas for hand props, let me know.
Colors overall are going to be an antique gold, almost copper (very near the shade we used for the leopard at Burning Man), with brown/black outlining for depth. Should be very nice. (Richard did a quick sketch of it on my arm last night–very cool.)
Looks like we’ll have two photographers, too–one who normally does papparazzi work (he’s doing it for material cost only, because he thinks it’s a really cool artistic idea), and probably a more experienced studio guy. We’re currently discussing whether we want a makeup/hair person–I think probably yes. Heaven only knows how much this is going to cost me, but you only live once, right? You don’t say no to adventure. 🙂
At any rate, after a week of hiatus, the adventure is on again. I just hope the foot holds up; I’ve been trying to rest it this week, but it’s still a bit twitchy.
So anyway, I’ll be in Bangkok today and tomorrow morning, Sunday it’s off to Chiang Mai for a couple of days, coming back Wednesday. Thursday is body painting. 🙂
P.S. I also had a chat with the woman who put me on to the group trying to save hilltribe girls from being sold into prostitution (I’ll be volunteering with them in January). I’m relieved to know that they have electricity, running water, and direct email connectivity at the site. Luxury! They even have a communal motorcycle that you can drive into town. Whee! I can learn to ride a motorcycle! 🙂
P.P.S. I may spend Xmas down in Phuket now–Richard is the director for Phuket’s New Year’s Eve show (major production), and it looks like it’ll be spectacular. More to the point, if I tag along I can probably get a good look behind the scenes as well–and directing a show looks really interesting. Much like project management in terms of tracking details etc., but you get to play with much more interesting/artistic stuff. another interesting possibility…and can’t lose with the neat stuff going on.
I just read your blog with much interest. I will be in Thailand next week to visit friends. I am really interested in skeins of silk since I just learn how to weave. Can you tell me where I can buy it? Thanks so much.