Asia 2009 − 2010
Miscellaneous 2008 − 2009
Bolivia, August 2008
India, Oct 2007 − Mar 2008
Vietnam, Apr 2007 − Sept 2007
Thailand, Oct 2006 − Mar 2007
Thailand October 2006 − March 2007
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 − Safe and Sound
All the traveling was fine. No problems. Flew direct from JFK to Bangkok. Stayed overnight, as it turns out, right by the epicenter of the coup. I wouldn't have know it if someone wouldn't have told me. I had dinner with my neighbor in Brooklyn who recently moved to Bangkok to teach school. He showed me around a bit. We had the Thai equivalent of fondue − the give you a big pot of broth and you cook your own food in it. The sauce we got was amazing. I was exhausted with the long flight and jet lag and went to bed early. I loved Bangkok surprisingly. I have to go back. The next day I went back to the airport and took a $35 flight to ChangMai.
NYC was a good training ground. In NYC I will not take a ride from the random men at the airport soliciting rides, nor will I do it in Bangkok. I think that has worked for me so far. I did manage to negotiate a cheaper ride to the airport from the hotel. He said "600Baht" and I said it was 500Baht last night and he said "oh if that is what they quoted you last night". It was easy and I was surprised I was successful. I felt like I went over a hurdle. I felt good and I saved a whopping $3.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006 − Wat Rampoeng
Let’s say my housing was a modest room. The bathroom was "interesting".
Sunday, October 1, 2006 − Food Part I
I went out to eat with my old neighbor in Brooklyn who coincidently relocated to Bangkok a few months before I arrived. We had the Thai equivalent of ShabuShabu. It was good. Then I went straight to the Wat Rampoeng in ChangMai. I loved the food. For breakfast we had noodles, or congee or something with just a little bit of meat in it. It was perfect. For lunch, at 10:30AM we had multiple dishes, meat and/or veg with rice. There was a lot of it. I loved it although I took to eating vegetarian at this meal because sometimes it was mystery meat and I was a little creeped out. The meat was al-naturale including whatever little hairs might be growing out of the skin of the little piggy. I was loving the food until day 9 and then I hit the brick wall. I started thinking of KFC (that's a Christina legacy – I hadn't eaten KFC in many years until Christina insisted upon bringing KFC or Popeyes to every group event.) I still haven't had KFC but we did go to a "European Cafe" the other night. I have to say it was good. I confess I enjoyed it. I had a triple decker ham and cheese on whole wheat toast with exactly 2 slices of cheese and 2 slices of ham. Well, it was a "European Cafe" not an American diner with a quarter pound of cheese and ham each. Generally, I am eating a lot of street food − noodles, fried meat/fish balls, lots and lots of sweet drinks.
Friday, October 6, 2006 − Moving from the Wat to the Residency
On Friday October 6, 2006, I moved from Wat Rampoeng to Monfai. Yanthai, the super cool 22-year old Buddhist nun (also known as a maeche) came with me. I called a taxi (200 baht) was the price. It turned out to be not a real car but one of those red trucks with benches on either side. The idea is that they pick up multiple people for a cheaper fare. They are not luxurious and certainly not worth 200B. Somehow after the Buddhist nun appeared, the price went down to 100B each. It was quite far. The wat was on the south end of ChangMai while Monfai was on the far north. When we arrived, there was a bit of commotion because by some miscommunication I was thought to arrive the day before. They showed me to my room in a more modern house across the yard and I was introduced Tatiana, a friend of the owners who is European and speaks English. The three of us decided to head into the town to find a vegetarian restaurant. We ended up finding two health food stores and a vegetarian restaurant/stand. Yanthai was on the hunt for brown rice. She purchased a few things and then we had to rush over to eat since she needed to be done eating in public by noon. (At the monastery no one eats after twelve.) I thought she should say a prayer and she didn’t want to say the whole long thing by herself out loud and even after 10 days, I probably couldn’t even fake it. So she said it silently and Tatiana and I just bowed our heads and held our hands in prayer positions. We ate the very spicy food. I went to use the bathroom (huang nam – water room). Then we went to pay and some other customer had already paid for our food. That was fun. Yanthai seemed embarrassed.
Sunday, October 8, 2006 − Monfai − the location of the artist residency
Sunday, October 15, 2006 − Pai − Small town 3 hours northwest
Went to a small town called Pia. It was like a backpackers party haven. The big redeeming factor was all the decent western food available, and also it was small so you could walk everywhere in a couple of minutes. I liked that a lot.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006 − My First Monfai Event
This morning I heard all kinds of commotion. When I finally walked outside, they were packing up truck loads of stuff. The Monfai people were putting on an event at a hotel. They said they would come back and get me at 3:30 pm so I could go but then I said I didn't have any plans and so I went with them. I helped them the best I could but I had no clue what was going on and it was sweltering hot at 11 am. Later they brought me traditional Lanna clothes from Thailand 700 years ago. The event was primarily sampling of old traditional food. Great fun. They put me too work pouring samples of whiskey –well actually it was rice vodka with herbs. Most of the guest were not Thai so they spoke English. That was fun for me. There was one particular couple I really liked from Borneo, he was a plastic surgeon and she was a gynecologist. Very nice.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 − My Super Fabulous Studio
I was really floundering here in terms of art making, which is not unusual for me at a residency. It takes time for me to adjust. The people here are accomidating if they understand what I want. Basically, I need 2 things outdoor space to work on and a little indoor space to draw and make things. As I mentioned above, they have the outdoor space: an old orchard which is large and overgrown and a plot of land that they frequently use for parking for events. So, I was set with that. Then I was thinking that I would like to sketch and maybe make some abstracts on paper to get my in the grove but where? The house I stay in is a bit too nice in spite of the filth. And I wasn't crazy about working underneath Monfai; too public. So I lounged in bed a bit depressed this morning and finally went outside to the orchard. There is a cinderblock building out there and I finally got the chutzpa to open the door and look in. It was basically empty. So I walked back out and ran into Rampad, whom I can go days without seeing. I asked her if I could use it. I got help carrying a table out by Anon, who doesn't like me, and later Poot, helped me clean it out with straw brooms and water. It is great. It's about 400 square feet and an artists dream. I am so excited. I've started to make a few little pieces on oversized index cards. I am also going to make a series on newspaper called past/present/future. Abstracts of course. I have an idea for a sculpture but true to my nature, I can't help but feel I have seen it before but I can't get it out of my head so I am going to purge it by doing it.
Friday, October 20, 2006 − The Ways Thailand is like Florida
Tuesday, October 24, 2006 − Cost of Living in Thailand
King Sized fitted sheet and 4 pillow cases 300baht=US$7
A fast food worker or day laborer makes 25baht per hour=US$.75
Saturday, October 28, 2006 − Daily Routine
I finally have gotten into a daily routine of sorts. I try to get up about 7 am and head into the studio by 8 am. I've been making some more small abstract pieces on paper because I find it enjoyable. I walk around the outdoor space. I do some experiments with materials and some sketches of ideas. At my residency in Hambidge, I had a method to get me started called 99 experiments. It isn't really working here. I think that it played itself out in Georgia. I am trying to think larger scale here. For one thing, I have more open space and Thailand is cheap so I could actually pay to have things fabricated if I wanted.
Usually, I work for a couple of hours until it gets tooo hot (this could be at 11 am). Then I usually am hungry so I walk over to the main road and get an omelet with rice (25 cents). The omelet is basically deep fried which means it tastes really good. I also get "Cha Yin" – Thai iced tea (25-50 cents). I am becoming a connoisseur and an addict of the Thai iced tea. Many places serve them but to be good they have to be made on the street by someone with tea sitting in a can of water all day on a propane flame. All the people along the little strip know me now. They taught me to say cha yin. In the afternoon, I run errands with the people here at Monfai or run my own errands.
Today I road their motor scooter, 100cc. I told them I had one in college: my moped but some how they didn't grasp the idea that it was automatic not manual. So when I asked if I could try to ride it today they handed me the keys without one little instruction: this coming from people who are continually worried about my safety. So, as far as I can tell there is no clutch but it has 2 brakes: one on the handle and the other on the pedal. By the way, they drive on the LEFT. Hey, I managed to not get killed but I have to say that it is a lot heavier than my moped so that dragging my feet to stop is a BAD idea.
Wednesday, November 1, 2006 − Best and Worst things I brought on the trip
Things I wish I had brought
Friday, November 10, 2006 − Loy Krathong Festival
Every year Chiang Mai has the Loy Krathong Festival. The original purpose was to ask for forgiveness from the river for polluting all year and to give thanks to the river spirits. People put small little floats with flowers and candles into the river and light paper air balloons that get sent up into the sky. Nowadays it seems more romantic in which couples put the floats into the water together which is believed to tie them together in this world or the next. There are also parades and other events taking place. The Chiang Mai parade was filled glowing floats and ladyboys but I also had the opportunity to go to a small town, Sapatong, parade and festival. It was completely different and very charming: very little glitz. They also had a beauty pageant and a dance contest. Can you tell which pictures are from the city versus the small town?
Saturday, November 11, 2006 − Blink
Because I am living in an environment in which I can't understand the TV, the radio nor most conversations, I have some free time on my hands. To fill those hours, I am trying to read. There are many many book stores here that carry English books. Very nice. I finished the first volume of Harry Potter I brought (book 5). I am waiting on the next one. I don't want to overload on Harry. I couldn't decide what to read next. Often times I like to read local books but I can't read local books cuz I can't read Thai. Also, I don't want to cloud my experience here with someone else's. So after a few trips to the bookstore, I finally settled on "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell, the author of "The Tipping Point". I loved his first book. "Blink" was pretty good. It did have some interesting bits. Well actually it had many interesting bits, I just didn't feel like it was as tight as the first book. Like maybe he used all his knowledge and good ideas in that one book sort of like when a musician does an album. When the first one is great, the second isn't. Everything was used up in that first album. The years and years of making music poured into the first album and then a year or two of music goes into the second.
Anyway, back to the book. Malcolm talks about how people in the blink of an eye can get a lot of information (thin slicing). He talks about how we analyze a situation in a moment. For examples, he sites a tennis expert, Vic Braden, who can predict double faults. And a researcher, John Gottman, who can predict marital failure. (Who couldn't use that?) He even talks about when thin slicing goes wrong: stereotyping. He talks a lot about the Amadou Diallo shooting as well as racial profiling and everyday sorts of prejudice that's versus ones that end up with someone dead. Harvard has a website in which you can test your own racial bias: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/Study?tid=-1. Gladwell came up as being only having a mild preference towards whites and his mother is from Jamacia i.e. he is half black. There is a chapter on the new process of auditioning musicians behind a screen to prevent biases. To read an interesting account go to: www.osborne-conant.org/ladies.htm. As I flip through the book again to for the details, I am overwhelmed by the number of interesting bits. I really recommend this book: totally interesting easy read.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 − Many Many Weddings
At most weddings they start out with the appetizers mentioned above while the bride and groom greet the guests. Then the actual wedding ceremony starts. The guests may listen intently or they might chat through the whole thing. The couple sits with what I think is the equivalent of a justice of the peace who chants in Pali a long Buddhist wedding prayer. The family comes up and ties strings around the wrists of the bride and groom wishing them well. Then the dinner is served. There is usual entertainment of Thai music, traditional Thai dances and folk music. The evening ends fairly early, 11 at the latest.
Thursday, November 16, 2006 − Poot's Monfai Cocktail
A shot whiskey - cheap is fine.
This is the perfect drink for a hot day, which in my case is everyday Thailand.
Saturday, November 18, 2006 − Smokers Beware
Apparently there is a law that on every pack of cigarettes sold here in Thailand, this image must appear. Scary. I wonder if it is working as a deterrent.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 − Bargain or a Rip Off
I was at the night market which completely caters to tourist and is huge with many things to buy. I was wandering around and idly looking at items. I happened upon this tool thing that I can only describe as an oversized leatherman. It had a hammer and that is what I wanted. I am totally into these crazy gadgets. Although I could use a hammer, my pliers works fine, so I certainly don't need it. So the guy does that calculator thing in which instead of saying the price they put into a calculator and then they want you to put in a price. I was really ambivalent. I didn't need it. I didn't want to spend the money. But it was cool. So the guys types 1200baht which is about $30. I certainly wasn't about to pay that but that wasn't going to stop me from playing with it. He then puts in 1000baht. I still wasn't that interested. Finally he cajoles me into putting in a price. I type 400baht which is $10. Then he is like "no way" in a funny way so then he puts in 800B. Still I wasn't interested. I just wasn't that interested. Then he puts in 600B. Then he says in perfect English, what is your best offer? And I tell him it was the original offer of 400B. He isn't budging from 600B. Well then he did come down to 500B and then I walked away. I didn't want it and the more I stood there playing with the damn thing the more he talked to me which was taking the fun out of playing with it. So, as I am walking away he comes after me and says I can have it for my price. So, I go back and he shows me 500B again. I say no and start to leave and he grabs my arm and pulls me. I got mad and said "Don't touch me." He backed off real quick and I got the tool for 400B. After I left, I realized I just spent $10 which here is a fortune here in Thailand. So now I am wondering, did I get ripped off or a bargain?
Sunday, December 10, 2006 − ART and Travel
Since this is suppose to be a blog about my art and travels, I suppose I should speak about my art. After having lived in New York and feeling stressed for time (really energy), I set off on this adventure to the Far East to spend my days making art. After a mad scramble to get out of New York, and a 10 day meditation retreat, you would think I would be posed for the future: making art. But alas you would be wrong, I feel directionless and overwhelmed at the same time. There are too many possibilities, and maybe too much time. In the past at artist residencies, I realized that my productivity came from solitude and much time sitting on gazing into the scenery. Of course, I remember this with great fondness but if I really think about it, there was anxiety too. What should I do? It this good? Where is this going? Should I do this or that? And then there was the loneliness to contend with. And then strikes the guilt and anxiety for not accomplishing enough. Hmmmm, that is exactly like here. I also feel "blocked". I have almost no ideas on what to do. I am making my usual abstracts which of course is fabulously fun but even those are drying up and I have times when I think they are stupid. I am trying to make outdoor pieces but I am not inspired at all. Maybe because the sun is blazing and my outdoor space is a wide open orchard or maybe I am just blocked. I am supposed to do an exhibition in March before I leave but first I have to come up with an idea. I have almost none. I have one which is a large scale outdoor installation but having nothing to do with nature or natural materials. I am doing tests but nothing is working out. Nothing is coming together at all. I've posted picture of some of the abstracts on paper I am working on.
Friday, December 15, 2006 − Thai Crafts
Saturday, December 16, 2006 − Big American Party
Sunday, December 17, 2006 − Monfai Market
Wednesday, December 20, 2006 − Hanging out with other Farang
When I first arrived in Thailand, actually before I arrived, I had this idea that I wanted to hang out with the locals. So, I did not go out of my way to talk to other foreigners (farang in Thai) which means I didn't talk to any (I think I have an unfriendly face - too many years in the big city.) After one month of no complete sentences spoken, and me talking baby talk - arroy! (delicious), im (full), haung nam( bathroom), I thought I was going to loose my mind. So, I went in search of the not at all elusive farang. The first trip yielded a friendly man from New Jersey. The next trip and ex-cia agent lonely and depressed drinking himself to death in an upscale hotel. Then I got online and posted a hey-I-am-here-in-Chiang Mai-anyone-for-a-coffee/drink message and met a woman named Tamara who was high on Thailand but hanging with the farang, Christine a nice young woman from Cali, and then Morris, a quarrelsome retiree from, yep, New York City. For the first minute he was refreshingly familiar but just for the first minute.
After that, I discovered a fabulous café called Libernard (it's a lonely planet recommend). The owner is lovely and speaks English well, and I always meet farang here. Some good, some bad. Met 2 nice Fulbright English teachers who were in some was having a similar experience as myself. Also met a know-it-ally man (surprise) from the Midwest who was trying to tell me to move to Door County to sell my art (any of you Wisconsinites will understand the ridiculous nature of this idea - I don't paint lighthouses). The farang I have been talking with have been tourists, or like myself here for a few months. Someone told me, and I believe it to be true, that the real farangs that have moved here permanently, are an reclusive bunch who don't necessarily hang out without other farang, nor smile and say hello for that matter. After I started to seek out the other farang, my life improved. I wasn't so depressed. But like all things, farang seeking must be done in moderation.
Sunday, January 7, 2007 − Thailand vs. Malaysia
Although right next to each other, the development of the countries is very different. Malaysia seemed to have a lot more industry going on and certainly more highways. Thailand however has a huge selection of fruits and vegetables that Malaysia seems oddly to lack. Thailand seems to be made of Thai people whereas Malaysia has the three distinctly different populations: the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. These three groups have not melted but kept their own languages, religions and customs. From what I saw, Thailand also seems to have a lot more poor people. However, the Thai win for number of gas guzzling SUVs. By the way, gas in Thailand is about $3 per gallon. Pretty steep for a country where a good number of people only make $250 per month.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007 − Hong Kong
After the New Year, I went to Hong Kong for 10 days. It was great. I really pigged out. I drank cappuccinos everyday thanks to McCafe, McDonalds delicious attempt at going upscale. I had dim sum every morning and bread, cheese and fruit every night. Mmmmmm. I love Hong Kong. I stayed on this cool little island with a ton of friendly expats. I had such a good time. Could I live there someday?
Saturday, January 20, 2007 − Clinics Asia Style
Thursday, January 25, 2007 − I'm Getting Fat
I am eating tons of sugar here: desserts and sweet drinks. I eat and eat and eat. I also don't walk much. In New York, we walk every where or at least to and from the subway and up and down the subway stairs. Here, the traffic is fast, there are frequently no sidewalks or they are over run by bushes, and telephone booths, and many biting dogs, so I am inclined to not walk and thus I am getting fat. Plus, spicy food makes me want chocolate. Luckily, I like to inhale it when I get it so that I don't usually have any laying around. Perhaps like all fat people, I am eating to fill a void. What void? Perhaps it's the void of not having any friends here and not knowing hardly anyone who can speak or understand a sentence longer than 3 words. Would this create a void? And more importantly can Cha Yin fill this void?
Tuesday, January 30, 2007 − ComPeung
Making mud houses for artists to live and work in, ComPeung combines two of my interests. I've been thinking about creating an artist residency program in one of the countries I am visiting over the next year but apparently someone (Ong) has beaten me to it and on top of it, he is doing with renewable architecture. I am so totally jealous. This new residency is outside of Doi Saket, a small town about 30km from Chiang Mai. So far he has built the main house and one house for an artist. Near a couple of small lakes, it is a perfect location for artists to come to Thailand and make art. www.compeung.org
Saturday, February 3, 2007 − Art Show at ComPeung
I emailed Compueng and went for a visit a few days later. As luck would have it, they were having a show that weekend. They asked me to make a piece for it. For the next few days, I was there everyday. It is one of my circle pieces. Giant leaves in the outer circle surround a traditional Asian air balloon made of paper, fueled by a ring of paper and wax. Much to my excitement, the balloon started on fire and thus burned the leaf circle also. Check out these images.
Monday, February 5, 2007 − Karoke and Dancing in Chiang Mai
Thursday, February 15, 2007 − Mud House Building
For many years now, I have been totally interested in alternative methods of building such as straw bale houses. One of the cool thing about Compeung is that the buildings are made of mud. On a beautiful sunny day, well actually three, I ventured out to Compeung, again. This time with the intent of not making art but on making a mud house. It is fairly easy to do and quite fun but it is extremely labor intensive. Ong's method is to first make the roof to protect from the rain. Then, make bamboo gridded walls. Long grass dipped in mud is hung from the bamboo. Over the top, the mud is applied which is where I came in. The mud is a mixture of glue made from rice flour, sifted sandy soil, and water. When the mud is a little bit dry, it is smoothed with water. I believe there are two layers of mud.
Friday, February 16, 2007 − Hot Springs
There are hot springs everywhere and Thailand is no exception. One cool evening we all went to the hot springs. I had never been to a hot springs before even though in the past, I have lived less than 30 miles from one. When we arrived, there were some monks drying off and putting on their saffron robes. I unfortunately didn't get a clear view of this. There were three rooms: two with small jacuzzi sized pools and one small swimming pool sized one. Pu, Pat and I shared one. The boys each had their own. The water was HOT but we also had cold water. We filled the tub and lay inside. So, nice. I miss a bathtub. Soak and Soak. The draw backs were that the water smelled of sulphur and being modest Thai ladies, we all wore shorts and t-shirts. Nonetheless it was nice. A few weeks later, when the weather gets hot again, these same hot springs must feel not like heaven but like hell.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 − Ice Cream Sandwich
The Thais take the term ice cream sandwich literally. To make, use one thin slice of wonder bread, a couple of little scopes of coconut ice cream and bit of canned milk on top. Optional items include a bit of sticky rice, or canned fruit.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 − Temple Fortune Teller
On Pu's birthday, we went to a temple to get our fortunes told. I volunteered to go first. Ong was doing the translating. It wasn't very good. He was very general and at one point said that there was some concern with my (dead) father's health. While I was with the fortune teller, Goon called her brother the monk who said he wasn't good. Too bad for me. Everyone else then got there fortune's told by a tarot card reader. They all seemed to feel she was right on.
Here is the summary of my fortune so we can keep track of it's truth:
Saturday, March 3, 2007 − Camping
Went camping with the folks from Compueng. They are my new best friends. I see them many times in a week which almost always ends in drinking until late in the night. I am the oldest by 10 years. Strange. We don't talk about much, mostly gossipy stuff like who likes whom.
We took a boat ride to find a spot among the islands in a lake made by a dam. After setting up the tents and walked to the waterfall. They all swam in the freezing cold water. Then we got a ride back to the campsite. We drank and smoked. At one point we started playing these funny games. One was that you said "chippy chippy chippy" while doing some motion 3 times. The person next to you had to copy you, the person next to them copied them and so on around the circle. The person who screws up, has to lead. It was really funny. We also played this game where you had to tag each other if you weren't in a pair. Not as fun because there was a very limited number of us. Later on we played a game, where each person had a scrap of paper with an animal on hisher forehead and by asking yes/no questions everyone had to guess they're animal. After that I suggested we create a story together by each adding a line. It was a pretty strange story. The story started off with 5 women and 1 man were by the lake with the Lochness Monster and it ended with 200 military men having sex. Don't ask me how we got there.
We came back fairly early then sat around and waited for I don't know what. Welcome to Thailand. We then had 2 hour long Thai massages. That was good. We went and ate. Then watched a documentary called The Secret which lays out the idea of if you think it it will come true. Think negative thoughts that will come true. Think positive thoughts and that will come true. Write it down and ask for it, have gratitude and then receive it. Interesting. Then we watched another movie called "Stealing Beauty" about a young woman who goes to Italy where her mother conceived her. It was pretty good. A fair bit of graphic sex.
Overall a very good day.
Sunday, March 4, 2007 − Leaving Thailand for Vietnam
At the end of March, I leave Thailand, for Vietnam. I recently had bad news. The residency in Hanoi closed down. I am still going and my contact there is going to hook me up with other artists and studio, hopefully. When I came to Thailand, my sole purpose was to hang out in a foreign country and make art, but I came to realized that isolation sucks. By coincidence, the past few months I have been able to find some other artists to hangout with, mostly other foreigners and I am more inspired now than I had been the first three months. I am not inspired by their work per se but by the fact that they are working. I thought I could come here and the newness of Thailand would inspire me and although I find it fascinating, it doesn't inspire me to create art. It is so new too me that it hasn't found it's way into my art yet except in subtle ways.
Although I am the only person in the world who doesn't LOVE Thailand, I think I am going to miss it. I know people here. I feel a bit settled here. Everyone keeps asking when I will come back, and I've been telling them that I might come back in summer since I have no other place to go. I am suppose to be in Vietnam April through June and I don't go to India until October. I believe my free months are the rainy season here. I am torn about what to do. I'd like to spend some time meditating but I would also like to find another residency where I could experiment with creating art that grows, which would be perfect during the rainy season.
Monday, March 5, 2007 − Blogs Suck
Here is the thing about blogs that suck - since they are totally public you can't really say the truth about people in them. So I can't talk about person A is having sex with person B and C but they don't know. Or about crazy bizarre conversations that some how always include defecating or drunken actions. Or about new same sex love affairs that happen right under one's nose. There is also this pressure to make everything seem rosy, but apparently I haven't bowed to that convention.
Tuesday, March 6, 2007 − Fast Food Fine Dining
In Asia, fast food is not poor people food that it is in the states. Fast food here costs almost as much as at home i.e. not cheap especially when you compare it to a 25 cent bowl of noodle soup. Because of this, fast food is a bit of a luxury here, well not for us westerners who still think it is a pile of crap. I confess I went to KFC the other day. My food was given to me on a tray but instead of a cardboard box, I got my food on a reusable plastic plate that resembled fine china. My coke came in a real glass. I was even given a real napkin, first time in Asia, not one of those tiny little toilet paper squares. Thankfully, I got French fries and not mashed potatoes, so the meal was more than adequate.
Thursday, March 8, 2007 − Boycott America
I am probably the only person in the world naive enough to not know that EVERYONE in the world hates the United States. I expect it from out little brothers and sisters in Canada and even Europe or from people from countries we are currently bombing but from Thailand? What did we do to them? No one is making them wear Levi's, or listen to hip hop, or eat McDonalds. In fact, relatively speaking, this stuff is expensive here. Fast food in Asia is almost the same price as the States. This picture was hanging in a Thai bar.
Sunday, March 11, 2007 − Tarot Card Reading
Went to a Tarot Card reader in Chiang Mai. Suprising right? She seems good everyone seems to like her. Her name is Miao (like meow), and her contact phone number in Chiang Mai is 04-8095856 If you want her email address, email me. I don’t want to post it or she'll end up with a box full of spam.
Here's the reading. There are a few similarities to the temple fortune teller.
Next 1 month - cards: Isis and the emperors
Next 9 months
2008 strength card
Thursday, March 15, 2007 − Leaving Thailand Part II
The realization of my departure from Thailand has really been kicking in and with it comes this new love of Thailand. I find myself thinking "I love it here." I am going to miss Waroot market, Sunday walking street, and the food including all the fresh unusual fruits. I wonder what else I will miss.
Sunday, March 18, 2007 − Site Specific Ephemeral Art
I did an exhibition of my art. It was nerve wrecking. I guess I forgot. This situation was particularly bad since I was using banana leaves which although hearty, can not be left in the afternoon sun for hours. I ended up doing some of the work in the morning but really the bulk of it happened in mid afternoon. At which point, I had to scramble to make sure everything was done. It worked out fine but the tight time schedule leaves no time for running out to purchase a last minute item. I have learned that to prepare as much as you can in advance. Get all the materials, including extras in advance. Do numerous tests to assure that the piece will work the way you envision. A bit of reality is that the ground is never really flat. And it is very difficult to even it out. This holds true at the macro and micro levels. I used flour in my piece to create a large circle and no amount of sweeping would clear it. There were always smaller and smaller bits of leaves, grass, debris which would be visible under the flour. I had to at some point "kiss it up to god" meaning that I had to just do what I could and then accept all the flaws. This type of work is not for the perfectionist.
Friday, March 23, 2007 − Bangkok
Basically, a few days after the show I ran out. For a few reasons, one is that I had committed to being in Hanoi by the 23rd. The second is that I was actually happy to be leaving Chiang Mai since I was feeling a bit used by Monfai. I also wanted to spend a few days in Bangkok. Bangkok ended up to be good. A Thai artist took me around to galleries. That was interesting although a bit disappointed. We ended up having one of those experiences where everything was closed, or we couldn't find the galleries. That certainly can happen in New York but with only 5 galleries (exaggeration) that meant we only saw a few galleries and the work was all over the board. It seems to me that there are a lot of galleries in malls in Asia. This was true of the Philippines, Kuala Lumpur as well as Bangkok and doesn't necessarily connote the quality or type of art that will be present. We did go to a university gallery just to see the space. That was interesting but the director of the space I think thought I was just someone's girlfriend because he blatantly ignored me. Typical. You would think I would be used to that. I also saw most of the usual sites. They were alright. I am not a very good tourist so am not all that excited by tourist destinations plus I am not a big drinker so that form of entertainment that backpackers seem to enjoy so much is closed off to me. Bangkok was good but it did have a bit of an unsafe feel - just the usual, cabbies trying to rip me off. The art scene seemed to be sorely lacking but that is just my impression from a couple of days.
Sunday, March 25, 2007 − Chiang Mai Taxi and TukTuk Service
I found an excellent tuk tuk and taxi service in Chiang Mai Thailand. She is a rather butch woman who is a bit quirky and quarrelsome but prides herself I being very quick. I like to think of her as a New Yorker. She is not the cheapest but the morning I was leaving Chiang Mai, I was desperate for a ride and so I called her at 11pm at night. She said no at first because she didn't have a car and it was too early in the morning. But later she called to say yes and ended up arriving half hour early. She is extremely reliable which I found to be rare in Chiang Mai, regardless of . If I were ever to go back, I would not only use her for transportation around town but also for day trips in the area.
Pon's tuk-tuk and Taxi service 086-2718469, 081-5947886
Monday, July 23, 2007 − Communication: Drawings
I know you all think that I accomplished very little while in Chiang Mai, Thailand. But just to prove you wrong, I have posted some images that I worked on there. The techniques are the same as the rest of my 2D work but the content is different. The series is called Communication.
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