For some unknown reason, I’m feeling rather tired and feel like nesting at home, although it’s chap goh meh today. Anyway, tired or not, I’m going to write a little bit about Chap Goh Meh (Chinese: 十五暝; pinyin: Shíwǔmíng; literally “the fifteen night” in Fujian dialect), since I still feel rather guilty about not posting anything on the Lunar New Year.
What we call Chap Goh Meh around here is actually the celebrated day of Lantern Festival and the 15th day of Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year). Today marks the first full moon after the Spring Festival and of the New Year, also known as yuán xiāo jié (元宵节), meaning “first night of the full moon”. Usually, if it’s not cloudy, the full moon looks especially bright and beautiful today. I think it’s the cheerful atmosphere that makes people feel that things are more beautiful than usual.
Yuan Xiao Jie is also celebrated by individuals seeking for a love partner, a different version of Valentine’s Day. Traditionally, single women would write their contact number on mandarin oranges and throw it in a river or a lake while single men would collect them and eat the oranges. The taste is an indication of their possible love: sweet represents a good fate while sour represents a bad fate. It’s kinda ridiculous, but interesting.
This day marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.
Chinese lanterns decoration at JW Marriott Hotel
During this festival lanterns are displayed, at times as lantern fairs, and children are carrying lanterns to temples. The festival is associated with guiding lost and wayward evil spirits home, while celebrating and cultivating positive relationship between people, families, nature and the higher beings as they are believed to be responsible for bringing and returning the light each year.
Last night, I bought a dessert from one of the stalls in front of CentralWorld and ate it while sitting on one of the benches near the Portraits of Asia Exhibition on CentralWorld Square. The dessert costs 20 baht. From what I could see, it consisted of guilinggao, nata de coco, ginkgo nuts, red dates, palm sugar and shaved ice. I liked it. Hmm, too bad I don’t have a picture of it. My camera’s battery was dead by this time because I stupidly forgot to charge it yesterday.
Anyway, Portraits of Asia was an outdoor photo exhibition held at the CentralWorld Square, featuring 88 portraits by the French photographer, Eric Lafforgue. They were amazing! I was glad I had an opportunity to attend the expo. Below are some pictures I took of the portraits.
Skeleton Woman, Highlands, Papua New Guinea
Mung-Ming ancient Chinese style hair removal at Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand
Novices in Bangkok, Thailand
Miss Muko, Karen, Nam Peang Din village, Pai River, Thailand
Beautiful transsexual people, Thailand
Ringing bells in Buddhist temples, Thailand
Baby and father in Beijing, China
For more information on the expo, go to http://www.tannetwork.tv/tan/ViewData.aspx?DataID=1041497
Today’s breakfast was Thai fried rice, garnished with fresh lettuce and tomatoes. Yum!
Thai Fried Rice with Shrimps
Breakfast was included with the accommodation. For today, the breakfast was Pad-Thai with giant shrimp, fresh local fruits, orange juice & tea/coffee. It was delicious. After devouring the pad-thai, my stomach was actually already in the state of near-bursting. However, the fruits looked so delectable I just had to eat them too. So, I sat there reading with my iPad while waiting for my tummy to make some more room for the fruits. Well, I was not disappointed. They were the sweetest water apple and watermelon I’ve ever tasted. It was almost like eating honey.
Pad-Thai wrapped with thin omelette, topped with giant shrimps & garnished with lime, bean sprouts and lemongrass
Water Apple & Watermelon
I arrived at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 5.30pm. After picking a map of Bangkok and some brochures from the tourism centre, I walked outside to catch a taxi. The taxi queue was quite long. It was almost 7pm by the time I got in mine. My accommodation for the first 4-nights was called Focal Local Bed & Breakfast. It took the taxi driver about an hour to reach the B&B. He got lost once and had to get off once to ask some locals about the location. The taxi driver is a middle-age man and I think he is kind.
The hotel is a bit hard to find for first-timers since it’s located in a small Soi. However, it is in fact quite convenient considering there’s a 7-eleven around the corner and various food stands/hawkers within two/three minutes walking distance from the hotel. According to the hotel staff, there’s also a traditional market during the day. I don’t have enough time to visit the market, so I can’t confirm it. The hotel provides a free tuk-tuk for their customers once a day at any time of the day to the nearest BTS station (Krung Thon Buri). This means you can use the service anytime you want, but it’s only free for your first ride. It would roughly be a 30-minute walk to the BTS station, but I wouldn’t recommend walking considering the humid weather.
Anyway, I was greeted by a friendly staff as soon as I arrived. He gave me a glass of cold and refreshing drink. I think it was some kind of herbal tea mixed with honey. I loved it. I had felt so hot and tired at the time and the drink completely refreshed me. While I was drinking, the staff hauled my luggage upstairs. This was a small B&B, but it was clean and had a nice & unique atmosphere. There’re only 2 levels, so there’s no elevator, only stairs. Wi-fi connection in my room on the second floor was choppy, but once I was on the first floor area, they worked fine. For guests that don’t bring their own computers/ipads/pdas, they provide free desktop computer to use on the lobby. There’s a massage parlor right beside the hotel that I think is owned by the same owner.
After I finished my drink, I was shown to my room on the second floor. Every room on this B&B had its own theme. Mine was called Simply Gorgeous. I liked it. Like its name, it was simple, clean and nice. They put a bowl of potpourri on the corner of the bedroom. It made the room smells refreshingly nice without overpowering like what room fragrance sprays/diffusers do.