Fall Break 2016: Thailand
25 November - 18 December 2016
- About the Trip
- Mattopia Jones and the Flames of the Fates: Director's Notes and Travelogue
- Myanmar (Burma)
There were lots of tributes to King Bhumibol Adulyadej — banners on buildings; vendors selling souvenir T-shirts and publications in stores and on street corners; displays in shopping centers and movie theatres. Memorials were everywhere. People were still wearing black ribbons in honor of the beloved king, who died on 13 October. At the time of his death, he was the longest reigning monarch on Earth, having served more than 70 years as King of Thailand (and, in turn, he was the country's all-time longest reigning king). By virtually all accounts, King Bhumibol the Great was a really cool guy and truly worthy of the honorific.
As for me, Bangkok bookended the trip.
It started with a couple nights at the Lebua, where portions of The Hangover Part II were filmed.
Then, after three weeks of robust adventure, when I returned to Bangkok the soul was over-stuffed, the body worn down and the mind overloaded. Under those conditions, I took a break and went to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in IMAX (on the largest screen in Thailand) and enjoyed quite the cultural experience.
At 20:05, I strolled up to the self-service ticket kiosk, selected an aisle seat, paid by credit card and then relaxed, knowing full well ticketing for a Star Wars movie on opening Friday isn't that casual back home. Heineken, gourmet popcorn, soda in a souvenir cup with a Jyn Erso topper (which made its way home — traveling some 8,000+ miles — unscathed). A swanky, relaxed lounge area. Life is good.
Having been squeezed into many cramped and confined spaces during the trip, the IMAX theatre turned out to be no exception. The rows were tight and my knee caps effectively served as ear muffs for the guy sitting in the row in front of me when he reclined back in his seat. I was wondering why the theatre was nearly empty at 20:30, the advertised show start time. But that was merely when the 25 minutes of previews and commercials started. The audience trickled in while the previews ran.
The cool part was the announcement that all should rise and stand in silence to honor the King of Thailand while tribute footoge played. The reel started with memories of King Bhumibol (King Rama IX) then transitioned to his son and successor, King Maha Vajiralongkorn (King Rama X).
After that, it was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
Technical note: All photos and videos were taken with a Sony A6300 except those on the iPhone 7 Plus as noted in the captions.