Thursday, November 7, 2013

When Nature Calls...Go visit Jim Thompson.

I actually wanted the title to be 'When nature calls, put on your leaf and go answer the door' but it wouldn't fit, and it has nothing to do with my post. (See how craftily I snuck it in anyway, eh? eh?) So,...I have my lunch everyday at a Thai vegetarian eatery, a street away from where I stay. It's a beautiful location, with rough wooden furniture set out in an open courtyard with a small waterfall.

I usually have a book with me, or my notebook and headphones to watch a show while I eat. But everyday, invariably, I'm constantly distracted by these critters that I have become very fond of. I think they're lizards, I'm not sure. But they are super bold! They poke their noses over the edge and kinda feel you out. They sense weakness, I'm sure and they manage to figure out everyday that I'm just a lump of putty. They run right up to my plate and stop at the edge! There's a tense standoff as we stare into each others eyes. Then they  make a kinda  'It's mine! My ancestors could have eaten you for supper!' movement.

I'll go, 'Oh no you don't, short stuff. I evolved, I win!' and pull my plate away. Then the beady eyes become beadier, I relent and put a morsel or two on the bench. They pounce on it and leave, only to return a while later. Here are videos of two of 'em (sorry about the bad quality):

Sometimes they disdainfully spit it out. Oh sorry, did I say spit? I meant propel it out, with a flick of the head, so that it goes flying. Sigh.

They'd have felt right at home, though, in Jim Thompson's house. It's a popular tourist spot, but its one of those places that justify being one. I loved the serenity and beauty of this old house that nestles in what is better called a tropical jungle than a garden. It's breathtaking in places. Inside the house itself are many worn out delicate silk paintings that enraptured me because each was a scene of some story- I wish I knew what the stories were....

Jim Thompson's story itself is interesting. To put it briefly, he was an American who reconstructed this beautiful house by transporting several ancient Thai houses and putting them together, only to disappear mysteriously a few years later in Malayasia. He did much in his time to revive the dying Thai silk industry, becoming all the more popular after it was the featured clothing in the movie, The King and I.

They don't allow photography inside the house and usually, I whine about this. But this time, I kinda get it. You'd better just go see it for yourself. Some pics from the outside...

This guy below was doing the actual process of getting the fine strands of silk from the cocoons. It seems a delicate procedure and I understand it takes great skill. It's also large scale murder, but let's not go there.

All the animals I meet lately are snobs. This guy's nose never once touched the horizontal axis the whole time I was sitting there.

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