Pictures from an eight-day trip to Phuket and Bangkok with my friend P., taken with a Canon S95.
Apart from incredible heat, what struck me about these places was the profusion and intensity of contradictions. Over and over again, the usual extremes melded together in intensely colorful and meaningful ways: spiritualism and materialism, humdrum work and ador(n)ed fabulosity, the presence of danger and the threat of damage in holy places (tourists = both target and perpetrator), ruin and persistence, artifice and reality. The stage upon which authenticity was constructed was laid bare for everyone to see.
I had to constantly remind myself that not too long ago, many of the sites we visited were ravaged by floods and tsunamis. Rather than feel dismayed that the historical and cultural sites were “fake”, I had to admire, most of all, the thousands of people working hard to rebuild their lives by reshaping, adorning, and opening up these spaces of their home.