Saturday, 3 March 2012

Batik workshop

Last Sunday Topsi organized some special activities since we had a special visitor: Hanna, with whom we had studied in Freiburg: One of the acitivites was a Batik workshop!

Batik is a cloth manually dyed/painted using wax-resist technique. It is very important for ceremonial costumes in Indonesia. In the past, the patterns in your batik could tell your status in society. Thailand does not share the long tradition in batik of Indonesia, but this art has been somewhat incorporated at least in the southern culture. I have seen quite a few Thai governmental and private organizations using Batik in their uniforms.

Our workshop instructor was Pi-Dam, a friend of Topsi’s and new friend to me in Ta Chatchai. She is the batik artist at her family’s atelier.

Sketching supervised by Pi-Dam. She was so patient!

We started by sketching our drawings on a framed piece of cloth. Then we used a fountain pen filled with wax for the actual drawing. Next comes the painting. It’s amazing how the ink stops from spreading through the cloth surface exactly at the waxed drawing contours.

The wax-resist drawing

Not the final result yet...but almost

At this point, the cloth should dry and will receive some chemicals to retain the ink. The final step is to wash it in boiling water to remove the wax. Et voilĂ !

The final result: the colours become a little lighter, but I was still satisfied and proud of my little piece of art!

Tip: you can recognize a true Batik by looking at both surfaces of the cloth. If you can clearly see the shapes and colours on both sides, it’s a genuine batik. If the shapes and colours on the “inner” side seem worn-off, then it’s just normal dyeing, not a real batik.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Eating, eating and eating!

Apart from seeing Thai people smiling all the time, you will also see them eating all the time. They do not necessarily have big meals, but they eat all day long. Here you will find a collection of the food delicacies I’ve been tasting since I arrived.

The very popular papaya salad (or Som Tam). There are several variations: with crab, shrimp, dried fish...

Fried noodles with vegetables. The food stall where I ordered this dish actually only sold noodles soup, but if you want something dry, they can always improvise ;)

Thai food is known to be quite spicy. In the South of Thailand, even more! It’s true, some food has literally taken me to tears, specially when it comes to curries. The red curry is to be avoided if you easily come to tears like me.

In every restaurant, they will serve you a dish with cucumbers and cabbage or soy (or what is it beans?) and Thai basil, like in this picture. These fresh vegetables always help to refresh your tongue from the red chilis!

Forget about fancy, air-conditioned restaurants, because you will always find just as tasty food at the markets and food stalls - and for a much better price. In every market there's at least one stall selling different parts of deep fried chicken. I think it's even more popular than papaya salad!

This lady knows the local preferences: she sells both fried chicken AND papaya salad

Here you can also find delicious fruits, especially mangoes! However, Thai people do not seem very found of fruits or sweets in general. They prefer whatever is sour and salty. The exception are the noodles: besides loads of red chili, they add sugar to it!

Mango, banana and tamarind. This is the sweetest mango I ever tasted - and mind you that my hometown in Brazil is known as "the mango tree city"

When they do eat sweets, guess what comes with it?? Sticky rice, of course! And I must say i love it! My favorite is the sticky rice with mango.

Thai sweets with sticky rice. The yellow one is with egg yolk, the orange, with coconut and the bown, with tapioca.

Oh, i could also post the pictures of the seafood, noodles, fried rice, ...but I would just continue torture you. So, till next time and ...
Bonne appetit!