Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ta Chine Riverside Market photos 2-10-07 re-loaded (I hope!)

Saturday, Feb. 17, Chinese New Year, return to Siam Society museum and a class with MLS students

Today for lunch I returned to the Siam Society Museum, which was closed last Sunday when I tried to visit it. Its two ancient and serenely beautiful Thai houses were brought here from the Lanna region and re-constructed. Tradition in Thailand is matrilineal inheritance, with the youngest daughter having the responsibility to care for the parents/grandparents and carry on the family traditions. Sounds pretty good to ME! The shirts with inscriptions were worn by the men (who also had tattoos as you can see on the model) to protect them while away from home hunting or going to war.

Though located on the very busy Asoke St., the museum is a tranquil oasis. Wedding preparations were being made for tonight, so I took a few photos for cousins Tina and David Dennison. Looks about the same as at home.

My walk back to campus was enlivened by lots of Chinese New Year festivities, including the burning paper near doorsteps to honor deceased ancestors and firecrackers.

Nongnath's weekly class of MLS students was a treat. Most of them are already working in libraries. A bright and energetic group, who introduced themselves to me in English and told me why they are becoming librarians. I gave them my sermon about the necessity for lifelong learning and studying. (Not sure they were eager for a sermon on Chinese New Year, but at least it was short.)

As I write this, SWU students are outside singing, chanting in unison, and playing traditional drums. This seems to happen every afternoon. It feels very uplifting.

Friday, Feb. 16 Sukothai World Heritage Site

The ancient (13th century) first capital of Thailand at Sukothai is a fascinating and well-done national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the "lower north" part of Thailand's central plains, and Sukothai is where the plains meet the mountains. Beautiful country.
Apparently, the Japanese people have contributed quite a bit of money to restoration here. We saw several groups of Japanese tourists. Glad it wasn't too crowded today. I hope to come back someday in November for the famous rice harvest festival, where folks float banana leaves with lighted candles on the many waterways. Should be just gorgeous.

Note me in the lower right-hand corner next to the huge Buddha. He's imposing.

Though only 65 km from Phitsanulok, the trip seemed long because of road construction creating a four-lane highway to connect Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma) for commerce purposes. Right now it is a MESS, but our fine driver got us through, and we arrived in time for a good visit to the historic city and a yummy lunch of Sukothai noodles and satay on the way back.

Nongnath and I flew back at sunset getting back to SWU around 8:30 pm. A long, but good, week.

Thursday, Group Presentations and dinner on a river boat restaurant

The presentations were excellent, once again this week. I was especially impressed that one group mentioned writing proposals for new projects and including cost-benefit analyses. Must be an MBA in there somewhere.

Mr. President stayed for several hours and showed real interest in the groups' work. Very gratifying.

Dinner was in a most pleasant boat docked along the River. All the fish was good, fried (the tiny ones were especially crispy and tasty), steamed, etc.

Though it has rained only twice (briefly) since I've been in Thailand, we did have rain during dinner, so had to move to an inside table. Fortunately, it was next to the window, where the breeze cooled us. The library directors at PSRU (Sirisupa) and Naresuan (Supin), along with Nongnath, Sirisupa's husband, Jane (a librarian at PSRU), and I had a fine time and very good meal.

The other photo here is from my hotel room on the 16th floor of a new Mosque recently built in Phitsanulok. Though most of Thailand's people are Buddhist, there are quite a few Muslims, especially in the far south of the country. I was a bit surprised to see a new Mosque this far north.