Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thai Orchid Fantasia

A two-color beauty
A definite tigery look
Exhibition sign
Orchids are a widespread species. They may not be fragrant like other flowers
Exhibition decoration
but they are certainly beautiful. They come in all shapes and colors. Some are tiny; others are gigantic.
The Thais love orchids. Actually, orchids are to Thai people what bonsais are to Japanese.
The "9th Siam Paragon Bangkok Royal Orchid Paradise" has just ended. It was an amazing event that attracted scores of visitors. It displayed hundreds of species, some very rare. The photos will give an idea of what it looked like.

Bouquet of orchids
Orchids on ste

A gorgeous match of colors
A starry elegance
Vibrant colors
Pastel tones
An orchid arrangement in the shape of a giant butterfly

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Train Night Market in Ratchada

The new Train Night Market Ratchada (Talad Rot Fai Ratchada) has now become a true landmark on the Bangkok scene. Open Thursdays to Sundays from 5:00PM to 1:00AM, this night market is a fun scene to attend in town. It caters mostly for a Thai clientele and has become a bustling scene on Ratchadaphisek Road, particularly on weekends. It is just a few steps away from exit nº3 of the Thai Cultural Centre / MRT station at the back of Esplanade shopping mall.
At the market site
Night markets play an important role in most southeast Asian cultures. A large Train Night Market already exists on the city outskirts. But now the same organizers have decided to get closer to downtown by opening this new branch only two MRT stations away from Sukhumvit. This night market has two sections. There are shops and bars all around and a real night market in the center.
So, people can come here to shop, eat and sit for entertainement. The night market offers just almost anything : clothes, cell-phone accessories, leather goods, toys, hats, curios, to name but a few. And the food of course! No real Thai scenes exist without offering opportunities to drink or eat ! It makes this place a real treat ! Some more, prices are unbeatable. There are seafood or meat skewers, Thai salads, sushis and sashimis, fried chicken, fish balls, noodles, white or yellow rice, lots of seafood (shells, squids, grilled shrimps) and even a wide array of fried worms and insects to foster the proteins of Thai palates !
Coconut stall
And then there are the drinks too : coconut (juice, pudding or ice-cream), fresh fruit juices and smoothies, green tea or even coffee... The list would not be complete without adding the desserts. Thai rolled pancakes, gigantic Asian ice-creams or plain Western pastries. So, you may come here, taste anything you like either standing or sitting at one of the communal tables and enjoy good, healthy food.
Then, there are shops and bars on the periphery of the central night market ground. There are bric-a-brac or antique shops as well as other unusual items that give this market its own characteristics. But the bar zone conveys a distinctive atmosphere of the 50s. Harley Davidsons or vintage cars are used for the décor : VWs, Cadillac or an authentic yellow school-bus. There are rooftop terraces too, where food and drinks are served under the stars. One of these joints even offers live Thai hard-rock music.
The night market stalls
The Ratchada Train Night Market attracts mainly Thai crowds of all ages. This is probably what keeps the prices so competitive. It is a vibrant and happy place with a definite friendly atmosphere. Going there remains a fascinating experience. There is no doubt this is a great place to observe the Thai way of life. The smiles and the overwhelming friendliness are prevalent. It makes it so easy and pleasant to mingle with the people. So much so that you will feel like going back there on and on.

Christian Sorand
July 2015

Colorful sushis
Bar scene


Thai salad

Curio shop
Open hair salon

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hommage aux Côtes de Bourgogne, nouvelle adjonction de L'UNESCO au Patrimoine mondial.

La France possède déjà une longue liste de sites classés au patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO. On surnomme souvent l'Hexagone la « Terre des Arts ». Cette expression est héritée du poète de la Renaissance française, Joachim DU BELLAY (1522-1560). Dans un de ses célèbres poèmes, Du Bellay a écrit ceci :

France, mère des arts, des armes et des lois,
Tu m'as nourri longtemps du lait de ta mamelle :
Ores, comme un agneau que sa nourrice appelle,
Je remplis de ton nom les antres et les bois.

Toutefois, si la France est aujourd'hui devenue la première destination touristique mondiale, ce n'est pas uniquement pour ses sites historiques et naturels. Sa renommée est dûe aussi à la réputation universelle de sa table et de ses vins.
Or, voilà que l'UNESCO, réuni à Bonn, en Allemagne, le 4 juillet dernier, vient d'ajouter à la liste de ses sites mondiaux les vignobles de Champagne et de Bourgogne. Le vignoble du Bordelais faisait déjà parti des sites du patrimoine avec l'inscription de la Juridiction de Saint-Émilion en 1999. Dans une certaine mesure également, les vignobles du Val de Loire, ont reçu la même reconnaissance en l'an 2000 lorsque l'UNESCO a classé le Val de Loire entre Sully-sur-Loire et Chalonnes.
La candidature des vins de Champagne et de ceux de Bourgogne avaient été déposées 2006.
Vignoble des grands crus de Bourgogne

 Le texte qui suit, illustré de photos, rend hommage à cette superbe région dont les grands crus, tels que Romanée-Conté, Clos de Vougeot, ou Chambertin, ont acquis une réputation mondiale depuis des lustres. L'association des Climats des vignobles de Bourgogne s'en réjouit en s'exprimant ainsi dans sa lettre nº17 de juillet 2015: « Ce bien culturel a ainsi démontré qu’il possède une Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle, un trésor désormais mondialement reconnu : ses 1 247 Climats, parcelles de vignes, aux noms évocateurs tels Montrachet, Romanée-Conti, Clos de Vougeot, Corton, Musigny, Chambertin… qui expriment la diversité culturelle de la Bourgogne viticole. Après 8 années d’efforts et d’espoir, le rêve des Bourguignons devient réalité. »

Entrée du domaine de Vougeot

Château du Clos de Vougeot
Le vignoble de Chambertin
Le village de Vougeot et ses vignobles
Une cave de Gevrey-Chambertin

Dans les vignes des grands crus
Pied de vigne
Gros plan sur une vigne

Le nez du vin (musée de Vougeot)
Château de Gevrey-Chambertin
Toit bourguignon à Fixin

Cave de Clos de Vougeot 
Cave de Gevrey-Chambertin