A little Een in Bangkok

One of the many little Eens I worked with this past week at ELC school in Bangkok arrived at my classroom one morning with the most wonderful braids in her hair.

Given the hair, and the fact that she kept poking her nose into my Box of Whispers prop and hugging Prospero the Owl (immortalized in puppet form), I actually began to wonder if she was indeed an Een . . . who knows? She said she had to fly away and so wouldn’t see me for the rest of my time at the school!

Little Een

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The Bridge over the River Kwai

Yesterday I had a day off from my work as writer-in-residence at ELC School in Thailand, so I  headed northwest towards the historic area of Kanchanaburi. Two teachers from the school went with me, both ex-pat Canadians (and Vancouverites!).

It was here where the historic railroad and bridge over the River Kwai was built by Japanese prisoners of war to connect Siam with Burma. The original bridge was destroyed during the war, but you can still see the foot of it.

River Kwai.

During a later part of the day, we took a short train ride that crossed over an old wooden-trestle bridge that was the same vintage as the original bridge over the river.

River Kwai trestle

And of course, now, they have a new bridge. You can walk over it, but it is still functioning! There’s just a simple sign (and not a very big one, if you ask me) that instructs you to jump out of the way if a train comes!

Bridge over the River Kwai.

There is a fairly good museum attached to the site where you can see many old relics left over from the construction of the bridge. Of course, there were many shops and souvenir stalls here too. As our tour bus pulled up I spotted what I thought was a little leopard cub hanging out at the entrance. Then the bus turned the corner; I whirled around to my companions and asked them if they had seen it and they both immediately thought I was dreaming.

So as the bus stopped, I jumped off and raced around the corner. And, sure enough . . .

Leopard cub

This poor little fellow was feeling pretty hot. I guess he was there just so tourists could come by and pay a few Baht to get their photo taken with him. I didn’t want to do that—I would have rather just set him free. Apparently, this is a pretty common scene in Thailand. There’s lots of exotic animals, including wild cats, and they are kept on a heavy dose of sedatives so that they are docile for interactions with tourists.

I had a much better experience with the elephants. But more to come on that later . . .

Dragon eggs in Bangkok

I brought my popular “Dragon Eggs” workshop to my time as writer-in-residence at ELC school in Bangkok. We had some challenges with this activity—the power in the entire school went out, making it rather difficult to use the hot glue gun (never mind working in a room without air conditioning!).

But when all was said and done we came up with some pretty amazing eggs! Check out some of the designs and colours!

ELC dragon eggs.

ELC dragon eggs.

ELC dragon egg activity.

ELC eggs.

ELC dragon eggs.

ELC dragon eggs.

ELC dragon eggs.

ELC dragon eggs.

ELC dragon eggs.

ELC dragon eggs.

ELC dragon eggs.

In the realm of Iron Fairies . . .

There seems to be some magic in ever hidden nook and cranny of this city of Bangkok. Tonight two of the teachers I’m working with during my writer-in-residence stint at ELC school took me around the corner to a fantastical restaurant called Iron Fairies.

More than one person has told me that Iron Fairies has the best burgers in Bangkok—and it might also have the best decor. The journey begins with a narrow double-door that leads into a darkened interior with a wrought-iron staircase swirling upwards  where one can find a bookshelf that is actually a secret door to a chamber beyond.

Old-fashioned tools and canisters of fairy dust line the walls and here and there you can find a scattering of fairy lore. For this wizard in Bangkok, it was truly an inspirational realm!

Iron Faries.

 Iron Faries.

Iron Faries.

Iron Faries.

Coolest library ever . . .

I entered a paradise today as I started my writer-in-residence at ELC school in Bangkok, Thailand.

Many of the buildings on the school grounds are traditional Thai houses, including the library. These houses are built on stilts. Traditionally, livestock would have been kept on the lower level and then the family lived on the upper story. In this upper story it’s a family of books!

ELC library.

It was pretty cool to see Kendra Kandlestar on the shelves—but I think I was more excited to see Flying Feet—the wonderful book by my buddy, James McCann.

ELC Library.

The other thing I love about the school is all of the flora. Every time I turn a corner on one of the many meandering pathways I find another palm tree, another outcropping of lush jungle plants. It’s like going to school with Swiss Family Robinson!

ELC

The kids here are absolutely wonderful. If I remember correctly, there are children from thirty-two different cultures, all coming together in this one place.

So far I have just been teaching many of popular workshops that I’ve taught in Canada, the US, and Korea. These include my Costuming a Character and Crafting Kingdoms. Later on in the week we’ll be designing our own enchanted vessels and even build dragon eggs. I can’t wait!

Biggest Buddha ever . . .

I went to two beautiful sites in Bangkok on my first day; Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Wat Pho.

It’s at Wat Pho where you can see the famous reclining Buddha (over 40 m long). My friends always tease me about my freakishly large feet . . . but they aren’t anything compared to this golden fella!

Reclining Buddha.

Reclining Buddha.

Reclining Buddha.

Here’s some other photos of the grounds of Wat Pho:

Wat Pho.

Wat Pho.

Wat Pho.

Wat Pho.

Fun shot of the day: A monk using his cellphone . . .

And, finally, here are some shots of Wat Arun:

Wat Arun.

Wat Arun.

Wat Arun.

Wat Arun.