Here are a few video clips from the Pi Mai Lao / Noh’s Birthday Party last Monday, April 14th. If they show up as a colored test-screen, just click on the play button. If they’re not playing, please leave me a comment. Thanks and enjoy.
The first one is a general view of the kind of merriment that was taking place.
Both Nongkhai, Thailand, and Vientiane, Laos, have nice riverfront parks along the Mekong. Whereas Nongkhai’s park is more of a walkway, Vientiane’s is a large park and walkway, and is frenetic with activities, in contrast to the sedateness of Nongkhai.
I like the quiet of Nongkhai. It’s a small town that shuts down about 11 p.m., except for a handful of mostly expat bars near the river. I’m sure there are other venues that Thai people frequent later at night, but I’ve never been to any of them, except for a hotel karaoke now and then. The river walk reflects that quiet. Here’s a shot I took of it a few years back, to give you some perspective.
New to this walkway and off to the right are some added items of whimsy that I found amusing–lawn ornaments. Here are a few of the new denizens of Nongkhai’s river walk. There are several more, but I don’t want to spoil your fun should you ever get there.
Here’s a fella I found who was caught between a rock and a hard place, between two dragons. Hey, guy, are you another lawn ornament?
In contrast to the Nongkhai walk, the Vientiane River Park is busy, busy with activity during the evenings. Here’s a short video showing a small slice of the action along the Mekong–aerobics classes, the night market, kids doing tricks on bikes and skateboards, and families out for a stroll. For once, it wasn’t raining.
Yup, it looks like the worst is over. We got lots of wind and rain; between 9 a.m. and 11 o’clock we got close to 4 inches of rain, 2 inches an hour. That’s quite a rate and we’ve gotten 155 millimeters (6+ inches) since midnight. The rain has abated, but it’s supposed to be very windy for most of the afternoon. I haven’t heard any damage reports from the rest of the city, and let’s hope that the folks in the countryside are OK.
Here are a few more videos that I took from my office around 10:15 this morning. Shortly after, I ran, mostly, back to my apartment. I had an umbrella with me, but it was useless in the wind, so I got drenched, but nothing worse than that. I’ll put up another update later if I hear of any other news about Sanba.
Really raining quite hard and very windy, of course. I’ll withdraw my remark about the university being irresponsible because they just canceled all classes beginning with the 10 o’clock class. Now, I just have to figure out how to get back to my apartment without getting drenched or smacked by debris. The KMA is showing that Yeosu has had a bit more than 2 inches of rain from midnight to 9 a.m., but that total will definitely go up in the next few hours. Here’s a video I took earlier this morning from the dormitory. Gotta finish this post right now, as the lights are flickering, so power could go out at any time.
There were any number of great cultural performances during the Yeosu Expo 2012, including the high-energy African and traditional Korean percussion groups. Probably the most beautiful and sublime performance I watched, however, was the Turkish Dance performance, the famous “Whirling Dervishes” of the Mevlevi Order of the Sufi sect of Islam.
In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen’s camel’s hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak, he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love. The human being has been created with love in order to love. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”
There’s a lot more information on that site about the dance and on Wikipedia about the Mevlevi Order. As you can see in the first photo, this particular group is the Konya Turkish Tasawwuf Music Ensemble, whose website is here. Of course, if you do a search, you’ll find much more information about this beautiful dance.
Following are a caravan’s worth of photos; I loved this performance so much that I just have to post all of these (18) shots. After the photos is a short (about one minute) video that I took of the dance. Enjoy!
Bolaven has come and gone, but wayward Tembin, now a tropical storm, is on its way, predicted to dump some heavy rain on Korea tomorrow. It won’t have quite the wind speed of Bolaven, as here in Yeosu the forecast is calling for about 30 mile-per-hour winds and rainfall of more than 3 inches.
Bolaven didn’t dump that much rain on us; we got just a bit over an inch in Yeosu, according to the KMA. The winds weren’t terribly destructive, but I’m guesstimating that the peak gusts were around 60 mph. I have a good idea about that guess, because, after the rain quit, I took the bus down to the Expo area yesterday morning, down by the harbor, where fierce winds were howling through the area around the Expo. I had to keep my eye out for any debris that might have been heading my way, but I didn’t have any serious trouble. The wind was strong enough to keep me off balance, and quite a few of the trees that were planted for the Expo had been blown over. Signs in the area had been knocked down, trash cans upended and various bits of mayhem caused by the wind could be seen.
Here are a few shots from campus and from the Expo area. First, here’s a short video of what it looked like from outside my dormitory apartment around 9 a.m.
Most of the trees knocked over at the Expo were planted not too long ago and they hadn’t had enough time to put down deep roots. However, here’s an older tree at the university campus that was blown over.
Down by the Expo Main Gate was this unfortunate tree.
Quite a few of the trees by the MVL Hotel, right at the harbor’s edge, were uprooted, including this one near the hotel.
There was other damage in the area, including this restaurant sign that was half-way taken down by the wind.
From the MVL Hotel, I noticed that the spray of the surf was washing over the causeway that leads to Odong Island. I walked over to the road in front of the MVL, but the street had been closed off by police, and I was politely told to vacate the area. Hmmmm, I wasn’t going to go out on the causeway; I just wanted to see if I could get some good shots. Well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I decided to walk through one of the new tunnels that take traffic from the Expo area to the other side of Jasan Park. From there, I was able to hike up to Jasan and part way down the other side to the pagoda that overlooks the causeway and the island. I shot this video from up there. Here’s a shot of usually-placid Odongdo.
And here’s what it looked like around 12:30 p.m. on the 28th, one still shot and one video.
No way could anyone have walked to Odongdo that day; you would’ve probably been swept into the harbor. I’ve got a few more photos and another video of the island that I may put up later, but I’ll update you on what happens with Tembin in my next post.
OK, loyal readers, here’s the first video post on this blog! This is a performance by a Korean percussion group that I took, handheld, on July 20th at the Expo Plaza. I think most of these youngsters are university students, but I could be wrong. They’re really quite good. Turn up your sound and enjoy!
P.S. Sorry about all the people moving around in the audience, but there wasn’t much I could do about that. Also, I have a few more videos of this group, so I’ll get them up soon, and I have several others of various cultural performances, which I’ll also post when I can.
EDIT: Since I first posted this entry, I’ve added the other two videos I had of this group. I put them in more or less chronological order. The first vid shows the group working out on the big drums, the second is of the smaller drums, and the third features some dancers with smaller percussion instruments.
Here’s the Big Drums portion of the performance. Watch out for the two large profiles that walk in front of my camera at the one minute mark. I guess I coulda whacked ’em upside the head, but that probably wouldn’t have made any difference. The guy on the center drum was the leader, more or less, of this energetic and talented group of performers. The fellow was quite charismatic and fun to watch.
Here’s a close up shot of the leader of the group.
Here, the group works out on the smaller drums. The day was very humid and hot, but the performers didn’t appear to be affected by the weather. However, I saw them a few days later putting their drums in a storage area after they had done another performance, and they did look worn out. Ah, to be that young and energetic again.
Another shot of the leader and one of the other drummers.
Finally, a few other performers join the drummers for a romp. Right after this, many other performers and dancers from a different group, and many onlookers joined in for a free-for-all frolic around the plaza. Many folks in the audience participated also, dancing, clapping, shouting and enjoying themselves in the mayhem.
Here’s a closeup photo of the young lady playing the wind instrument.
Finally, a view of the general hilarity that followed the performance.
Just another ordinary English teacher eclectic expat blog about nothing in particular.