Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bangkok - Siam Paragon

Siam Paragon is the poshest shopping mall in Bangkok. It is located along the famous Soi Sukhumvit, next to the Siam MRT Station. 

The exterior design is quite standard, essentially a square box building with a bit of decoration and nice landscaping to differentiate itself from the rest. The most striking feature of this shopping mall is the main entrance lobby - the walls and balconies are covered with verticle planted walls filled with exotic plants. There is a water feature right in the middle of the lobby, with a few planted archways providing a truly unique and beautiful interior.

The rest of the shopping centre is quite standard - predominently white design with polished floors and spacious shopping concourse. Besides shops, there is also a huge cineplex, and the Siam Ocean World, one of the biggest aquariums in Asia.

The beautiful entrance lobby.

The white interiors.

Huge crowds are a common sight at the plaza outside the shopping mall.

Bangkok - Protests

As I'm composing this blogpost, I can't stop thinking about what I have heard on the news. Thais have always been admired for their peace-loving nature, and I really hope that the protests will remain peaceful. 

It's been a wild ride for Thailand these past few years. The courage of the people to stand up for their rights - and to do it peacefully, is a rare quality among Asian cultures. Lets all hope that the differences can be worked out soon, and that things will return to normal. 

To those travellers stranded in the airport and all over Thailand - the whole world is with you, and we hope that you will be able to return home soon to be with your friends and loved ones. Have patience, and take heart that you are witnessing democracy at work, a country trying to grapple with it's growing pains. This will be a part of Thai history, and you are a part of it. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amazing ship in Caribbean

Bangkok - Central World

Like most major Asian cities, Bangkok is a shopping paradise. There are countless shopping centres, from the most high-end to bargain-hunting grounds. In fact at night, whole streets are transformed into street markets selling t-shirts, souvenirs, dvds, fake watches, etc.

Central World is one of the latest shopping experience in Bangkok, reopening in 2006 after extensive renovations. It is now the biggest shopping complex in Southeast Asia, with over 550,000 sq. m. of floor space.

Once you enter the building, you could be anywhere in the world. Globalization has homogenized the shopping experience to the extent that most people in the world are going after the same branded stuff. This can get depressing when you are travelling, as your expectation for a unique experience is drowned out by multi-national corporations trying to make a buck. 

Architecturally the building is quite interesting, with a diamond-shaped curved glass skin covering over the old building facing Soi Sukhumvit - the main street. The extensive use of glass on the facade gives it an expensive modern look, but I kept thinking about the amount of tropical heat that must be getting into the building.

The interior of the shopping centre - you could be anywhere in the world.

There is a huge gourmet supermarket in Central World that must be a heaven sent for Bangkok foodies. I know if I live in Bangkok, this would be my second home !

Monday, November 24, 2008

Amazing Multicolored Rock Formations in the World - The Wave Arizona - USA

The Wave Arizona: Coyote Buttes are the far southern portion of the Coxcomb Ridge, a 40 mile escarpment that parallels much of the Cottonwood Canyon Road and provides an impressive barrier to US 89 between Kanab and Page. The buttes are reached by the House Rock Valley Road that links US 89 with ALT-US 89, south of the Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona, and all are contained within both the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Multicolored, eroded rock formations dominate most of southeast Utah, though particularly outstanding is the desert either side of the Paria River, beneath the Vermilion Cliffs - seen for example along the Cottonwood Canyon Road or at the Paria Rimrocks. The kaleidoscopic scenery extends a little way south into Arizona, before the land becomes more sandy and barren, and all can be visited free of charge and with no access restrictions apart from the Paria canyon system and one small area spanning the UT/AZ border (mostly in AZ); this is Coyote Buttes, which was unknown before the mid 1990s but is now quite popular because of just one formation, 'The Wave', a small ravine between eroded sandstone domes formed of amazingly beautiful rocks containing thin, swirling strata.
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