Clay Garden in Lamphun, the stand-in for Angkor Wat

It’s a hobby for a Thai man who loves making things out of terra cotta, the lightly fired clay that we are most familiar with as bricks. They’ve got clay by the ton down there, and in a park near the river that’s at least forty acres, maybe more, he’s built all sorts of things. Houses, temples, statues…and the best part is, he likes chaos. He likes leaving broken clay pieces lying on the ground, covered sometimes in leaves, plants growing through the piles, mold growing on everything. It gives it that romantic “abandoned temple in the jungle” look that is so evocative.



People’s Theater Performance in a Thai Village

On a whim i rode my motor scooter to Lamphun (pronounced Lampoon) a very nice small city twenty miles south of Chiang Mai.  It’s not a suburb of Chiang Mai, it’s an ancient city in its own right and resembles Chiang Mai in that it has both a moat and an ancient wall that surrounds the center city.  On my way home, I impulsively drove on a small highway headed north and came upon a show.  The crowd of maybe a hundred was scattered about the large lot in front of a huge stage.  There was a live orchestra of young people playing traditional Thai instruments, and the actors, who all seemed to be college age, were dressed up in Thai classical costumes.  Sometimes the actors sang, sometimes they spoke more naturally.  I don’t know what they were saying, but I thought it odd that audience members would approach the stage and hand them cash, which the actors would stop acting in order to lean over the footlights and accept.  It reminded me of a Fellini movie I once saw, maybe La Strada, where live theater was still performed in small towns.

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