I’ve been lucky enough to visit Thailand a few times now, mostly to work with elephants at local sanctuaries. It’s always such a treat to see them again, and I find I miss their smell and the texture of their skin and whiskers and their clever antics when I’ve been away from them for long. On my most recent visit though, I found myself with time to spare in Bangkok and wanted to take full advantage of it.
I’m not by nature a big city person, or someone who enjoys dealing with the crowds or hustle and bustle of metro areas, so I tend to avoid them pretty much at all costs. However, with that said, Southeast Asia has been really easy for me to get accustomed to, maybe because of the easy to use public transportation, or the friendly people. Even in Bangkok I was pleasantly surprised to spend time browsing the outdoor markets and local venues. The sights and smells have become very familiar and fun to return to at this point.
I’ve been hearing for a long time how fantastic the flower markets are, and my friends have endlessly encouraged me to go – especially being a photographer. I’ll be honest, I never quite understood how they could be THAT great. I’ve done more than my share of farmers markets over the years at home, abroad, you name it. But since I did have some extra time on my hands and wanted to use it doing lots of new things, I got up at the crack of dawn and headed out on foot to explore the nearest flower market.
I was staying with friends in a bit of unusual part of Bangkok, but sure enough, there was a good sized market promised on Saturday morning within 15 minutes walking distance so I grabbed my camera and gave it a go. Although not nearly as large or fancy as the famous water market, it was actually quite charming and I was so happy I went. I arrived before any shops had opened, and owners were still setting up stands, unwrapping flowers, and posting signs. I didn’t find anyone who spoke English. Kind of unusual, but added to the charm.
I have no idea how it happened, but before I knew it, I’d been slowly wandering from booth to booth with my camera caught up in all the little nooks and details of flowers, wrappings, ribbon and even the coming and going delivery drivers bringing large bundles by bicycle to keep the buckets fully stocked for nearly 3 hours. Completely ridiculous I know. But I just couldn’t help it! It really was as entertaining as promised.
I easily snapped a few hundred images of leaves, flowers, designs and even the market vendors themselves. But of all of the photos I took, this one still stands out as one of my very favorites. It’s such a simple image, just one visible rose, amid bundles of others. But I liked it just for that. Amidst all the traffic and exhaust and customers and vendors and flowers being sold and bought and filled and emptied, this one little rose just stood still and tall. Master of its own space.
There’s something to be said for that.