Beautiful, Interesting and Ooo Shiny! Images From Various Places

Posts tagged “thailand

Random Acts of Kindness

Location: Thailand
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200 • f 2.8 • 1/500 sec

I love flowers. They’re beautiful and can brighten my day – especially when I get one by surprise! One day, after a long day at work, I went out to my car and discovered a rose hiding on my car. 😀 This wasn’t the only time I was the “victim” of a random act of kindness. I was once part of a large group at a restaurant, and some stranger paid for our entire table. Then, one time I had a flat tire. A few people were helping me change it, and one lady noticed my tires were old and needed replacement. I had been saving up to do that, but was still $100 short of what I needed. To my surprise, the woman handed me a check and told me to get new tires.

It’s fun to pass on the kindness. My family likes to pick a single person in a restaurant or get a car behind us in a drive-thru and anonymously pay their bill. A friend of mine got the idea to take flowers to forgotten service people, like gas station attendants. She also joined me in putting flowers on cars at our hospital’s emergency room parking lot. Another friend likes to go downtown to visit the homeless, armed with a pair of toenail clippers.

In a day where most of the news is filled with people hurting others, the strong taking advantage of the weak, and all kinds of disasters and greed, it’s nice to hear stories of kindness from time to time. Personally, I think it’s even more fun to be part of those stories.

What about you? Have you committed an act of random kindness or had one done to you? What happened?

Must Love Elephants

Location: Thailand
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 400 • f 5.6 • 1/80 sec

“But… all Americans LOVE elephants!” the merchant said, shoving a carved stone sculpture into my hand. He was sure that if I bought the souvenier to take home, it would be an instant hit. I’ve run across the same thing in India and Thailand now. What is it with Asians thinking Westerners love elephants?? Well, at least these guys didn’t expect us to be running around in bikinis.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve seen many generalizations and stereotypes on my travels, in all ethnic directions. Some of them are pretty funny, actually. Many have heard the old joke: “In heaven, the cooks are French, the mechanics are German, the bosses are Swiss, the cops are British, and the lovers are Italian. In hell, the cooks are British, the mechanics are French, the cops are Italian, the bosses are German, and the lovers are Swiss.” A graphic designer has even created maps of common stereotypes (Note: semi-NSFW due to language) and another blogger made a top 10 list.

When traveling, I am often confronted by the stereotypical American mindset that thinks I’m rich, ignorant, liberal and like to eat lots & lots & lots of food. As frustrating as that can be, I’m not the only one that gets it. My boyfriend is Tawianese by birth, but raised by Americans. Recently he was at a Chinese restaurant, and someone asked him to find them a seat. Also, a disgruntled cashier at a grocery store expected him to try to haggle the price, just like the Burmese guys that were in line in front of him. When he travels abroad, people don’t believe he’s American because he doesn’t “look like one,” whatever that means. At least we both get a good laugh out of it.

What stereotypes have you faced when traveling? What ones do you hold about other ethnicities/countries?

Trying to Feed the World

Location: Thailand
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 400 • f 3.5 • 1/1600 sec

Cruising the streets in Thailand, I kept seeing these flooded fields everywhere. I thought it was just the after-effects of monsoon season, but soon I learned the flooding was intentional. These Thai people we saw were rice farmers.

Rice is an interesting and essential crop, second only to corn (maize) in production worldwide. It is so important to some Asian cultures, that they even have annual celebrations or gods devoted to rice. Growing rice is such a labor-intensive process, it is most common in countries where workers are cheap and easy to come by. Many Asian communities still harvest rice by hand, though machinery is become more commonplace.

What makes rice-growing unique is the need for lots of water. Rice plants thrive in wet and hot environments, so part of the growth process involves keeping the seedlings under water for most of their early life. This also minimizes the amount of weeds and pests that can attack the young plants. Most of the rice paddies I saw did not need a complicated irrigation system to pull this off. They just built dirt walls around sections of the field, and let them fill up with water during the heavy rains. I got the chance to walk out on one of these walls, and was amazed at how strong it was, even though it was only about a foot thick.

Ok, fess up! What’s your favorite flavor of rice?

Holy Giant Moths, Batman!

Location: Thailand
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 400 • f 5.6 • 1/200 sec

Imagine waking up to one of these fluttering around your room. EEK! Really, the Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas) is harmless. It’s just so huge, it would probably still freak anyone out to find one just chilling on your doorpost like this. We found this female laying eggs first thing in the morning, so everyone wanted to crowd around and gawk. The Atlas is the largest moth in Southeast Asia, and some claim in the world. The female can have a wingspan of up to 10-12 in (25-30 cm) and a total wing surface area of 62 sq in (400 sq cm). No wonder they stink at flying! Also, no one can agree on why they have their name. Some claim they are named Atlas because of the Greek titan who held up the world, and others say their wings look like maps. The Cantonese name translates to “snake’s head moth” because of the shape of their wing tips.

The most interesting fact I found about this moth was that they have no mouths! The adults only live for about 2 weeks, surviving off the fat stores from their larval stage. So pretty much all they do is find a mate, lay eggs, and die. That’s if they don’t get eaten by something else first. Not such an interesting life, if you ask me. They’re only useful in North India, where their silk is harvested, and Taiwan, where their cocoons are used to make pocket purses. You can check out a picture of the male Atlas Moth here, and read some more about them here and here.

 What is the strangest bug you’ve seen?

Chillin’ With the Lilies

Location: Thailand
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200 • f 4.0 • 1/1000 sec

I feel like resting today. Maybe because I haven’t been able to all week, or maybe it’s because this pic is just so… peaceful. I think that was the point. The resort I visited in Thailand displayed beautiful plants and simple architecture that gave the whole area an atmosphere of peace and refreshment. Not to mention they had Thai massage! 😀 I’m sure you are just as busy as I am, so I wanted to throw out some quick tips today on relaxation. After all, as journalist Sidney J. Harris wrote, “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

When most people think relaxation techniques, they think meditation, hypnosis, visualization, or other similar exercises. Sure, that works great for some people, but I’m just not New Age-y like that. What can I do, then? Part of a conference I attended included brainstorming other ideas to help ourselves relax. There are four main areas in our lives that we need to deal with: spiritual, physical, interpersonal, and emotional. Different forms of relaxation affect each area. Here’s some we came up with:

  • Spiritual: Quiet times, prayer, Sabbath rest, thanksgiving/worship, Scripture readings, meditating on God & his character, knowing your purpose and keeping focused
  • Physical: Exercise, sports, spa time, sleep, punching bags, dancing and other favorite activities
  • Interpersonal: Cultivating significant relationships, friends, fun contests or games, sex (if you’re married), entertaining (if you’re an extrovert), pets, kids
  • Emotional: Counseling, tear-jerker movies, listening to music, humor/laughter
  • Other/multiple categories: Cooking, ditching unnecessary responsibilities, TV, chocolate, wine, nature, reading, beach/vacay, drawing, knitting, photography, other hobbies

Ok, now it’s your turn! What would you add to the list? What’s your favorite way to relax?