Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Santorini Park in Cha Am

Keeping to my mantra of getting out of Bangkok more often I recently visited Santorini Park. On a normal day this is about 2 hours south of Bangkok on the way to Hua Hin. It's pretty hard to miss as the ferris wheel towers above the free way and will assure you of your arrival. You really can't miss it.

For Thai people this place is superb because it offers them the opportunity to do what they do best, take pictures. Thai people can not get enough photos. The developers of this park knew their audience well. MY STUDENTS ALWAYS KNOW MY FAVORITE 2 LAWS OF WRITING AND PUBLIC SPEAKING. "Audience and Purpose, Ajarn," my students just mumbled. Well they got it right at this park. Hip little shops wind around cute rides until you reach the main court yard where the big rides dominate. There are more photo opportunities here than even the Thais can exhaust in a day. It is currently at about 75% capacity, as some shops have not yet opened, but with the crowds flocking down from Bangkok and up from Hua Hin I predict great things for this ambitious cross between an outlet mall, theme park, and photo set.

My highest recommendation is for the 6D shooting game. Only 4 minutes long, but the visual quality is amazing, the seat is shaking, there is a breeze in your face as you zoom along, and best of all "YOU GET TO SHOOT ZOMBIES!" If you are courageous, I mean really fearless, you can try the sling shot--video footage follows.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Found this footage from when the flood was still funny. 21 days later when I'd been outside my home living in hotels and my credit cards were all maxed out things were not so humorous.

To Rome With Love

Woody Allen’s newest film is worth a frantic trip through down town Bangkok traffic at rush hour to catch the 1 of 3 showings in the tiniest and furthest back corner theater on Sukhavmit. Hey, Woody Allen films are not for everyone, in truth to appreciate his work it’s best to be Jewish, neurotic, a hypochondriac, born before 1990, had your heart ripped out do to someone’s ambiguous affections, or at the very least a connoisseur of lovely women (let’s face it no other franchise but the bond films can boast a better list of starlets) or your just not going to make the trip to the off mall kind of theaters where his films play. For anyone whose interested where I am on the list of targt market characteristics, every one of them fits me but Jewish.

So about the film, well it’s not one of his best. Critics have come out and said his tour of European excellence died in Rome, but these critics are looking at the film in a very narrow light. I would like to open the aperture a bit and let you see the entire paining. You see Allen’s work is not to be taken in one glance and it is not to be taken in with one film. This film is a classic Allen full of romantic angst and spanning 4 interesting couples. Our early twenties ‘God your best friend is hot’ couple is perhaps the most fun. Our super hot newlyweds from the sticks come to Rome to make good’ is certainly the sexiest. Our parents the age of great grandparents (Woody and Judy Davis) dealing with their daughter marrying a communist scenario brings Woody back in front of the camera, so that wonderful. Finally our everyman character, one Woody does better than he gets credit, in the vise of an Italian couple who have to deal with becoming famous for no reason. You see, classic Woody.

I don’t think it is a good idea to focus on his films individually, because our most prolific living film maker is on a journey and his fans and critics need to simply get on board. His creative genius is his inexplicable ability to create through farcical situations feelings that we have all experienced. Giving away our daughter to a man we don’t love, finding our love’s best friend the sexiest girl in the world, believing a move to the city is all we need to make it big, and of course what would it be like to be famous for a day. Come on, we’ve all dreamed these dreams and felt these feelings.

Please don’t see To Rome With Love as a piece of art to be hung on the wall, see it as a brush stoke upon a masterpiece that Mr. Allen has been working on—while we watch—since the late sixties. His work is delightfully funny and heartfelt and although perhaps this one is not along the strides of Annie Hall or even Midnight in Paris, it is a joy for those of us who have been watching the maestro work.