wander process

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A Year’s Difference: The Buddhist Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok’s Chinatown

I’ve been falling into this habit: when anything happens, when I do anything of note, I think to myself, ‘what was I doing, where was I exactly a year ago?’

In the case of this past weekend, the answers were more or less the same. Last year, I made this video of my first time at any festival in Thailand.

This year, there was also lots of wandering around Chinatown to explore the Buddhist Vegetarian Festival. While I am perfectly content to mill around dark alleyways and crowded intersections by myself for hours, I couldn’t help but wish that I had friends to share in these experiences with. I’ve learned so much of the lay of the land in Bangkok and I wonder what will happen to all of this knowledge once I’m not in Thailand anymore. Will my sense of direction get fuzzy? Probably.

I suppose I had better enjoy it as much as I possibly can for now.

Isara Nuphap, one of Bangkok Chinatown’s most quintessential sois (sidestreets). Filled with dried foods, sketchy jewelry, and noodle shops. Always be on the lookout for motorcycles trying to make their way through!

There are small communities tucked away in each of the sois. This particular soi had an abundance of cats. I met this momma cat, May Lee, her kittens, Nueng, Song, and Sam (which translates to One, Two, and Three), and their kind, smiling owner who was willing to talk a little bit about the cats with me (in Thai!).

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Meet Denise

Getting home from international travel is never a straightforward affair. My parents usually pick me up at O’Hare, which is a good 4 hours from my house. Usually we get lost in the airport trying to find our car. This time, I’m pretty sure it took me less time to fly from Toronto to Chicago as it did for me to get from baggage to our car. We were that lost.

When I’m home though, there’s something that I go straight for as soon as I bust through the doors and drop my luggage.

The kittens. Because it’s not home without a few funcats around.

Our resident mommacat, Denise (who was just a adolescent cat herself the last time I was home) managed to squeeze out five beautiful, yowling babies.

Gratuitous kitten pictures, commence!

meet Denise

“there’s your mom!” – my dad

Denise has begat Howard, Leonard, Karen, Tipper, and Chairman Mao. They are all so wonderful. I honestly can’t imagine growing up in a house without animals and I couldn’t imagine going home without kittens or dumb, drooling boycats or our demon-possessed Australian cattle dog for me to come back to.

this is what we like to call ‘good kitty hijinx’

full of milk, gettin’ sleepy.

meet the Chairman! he has a voice on him the size of a tomcat 5 times his size. I partially suggested the name Chairman Mao for him because ‘mao’ sounds like the Thai word for ‘cat.’ This poor cat’s ears are so far apart, but he is still awesome.

the tiny paws KILL me

if you’re wondering, YES, I spent half of my time at home on my stomach taking close-ups of kittens.

tummy full of milk. this little kitty rocks it like I do.

proof that I spend a lot of time playing with kittens. this was before I did anything else at home, before I even left my kitchen. I’m nasty from an international flight and Denise and the gang are all up on my back.

a sweet picture of my Poppins, a man who is never shy about his love of cats. he always has a kitty story to share with me.