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Friday, December 10, 2010

Hat Yai Part 1: Light it up

I came to Hat Yai with a mission...
to visit the Lantern festival and the Klong Hair floating market...
So upon arrival I had to make the choice between a season festival or a year round event
The decision wasn't hard... the 11th Lantern Festival it was....
so a short walk, a long game of charades and 120 baht in motor fare later,
I arrived at the Hat Yai Municipal Park where the event is held every year.
As it is with any Lantern, you can only appreciate it's glowing beauty at fading light and durin the night
This made it a very difficult challenge to photograph, in order to capture the lanterns as well as it's surrounding
else it turns dark
or flashed...
 This only left me less than half an hour before the sun set...
Unfortunately the park is huge,
and they had 11 different locations filled with giant lanterns,
of all designs and origins
There were national inspired themes
as well as international...
yup that included Malaysia
which I took to offense to since it was symbolised by Malays,
not that I have issue with Malays but that Malaysia is so much more than that
but then again I'm sure most countries would have said the same about their Lantern
Each new location brought new ideas and designs...

some traditional themes
some animals


and even science?..
and some Thai history
and at each turn of course, was difficult to photograph
as with any public event, there'll always be people in the way...
thankfully the place was so huge that and the lanterns so gigantic

that most times people had to take a few steps back
other than when they decided to get up close and personal with the Lanterns
Which made me wonder if there was any point to the warning signs...
 probably to avoid lawsuits and to tell people I told you so once they get electricuted

I wondered how these would fare once the rain began
unfortunately I was to find out half way through the journey
at first it was an irritating shower
which suddenly turned into a heavy downpour...
with much struggling I managed to make it to a shelter even though I was fully drenched by then
and in a rare event, Malaysia has done something for me...
but as you can see the Lanterns seemed to be well insulated from the rain
I guess especially those that were floating on the lake.

Since I had time ro reflect I was amazed at the many different types and forms of lanterns that I had already witnessed
I was especially amazed by the robotic dinosaurs that were almost life like
eating from the trees
and swooping in the branches?
and to add to the effects they even had voice recordings to go along with the lanterns

like the animal sounds
at that point I wondered how those at the food stalls were faring but I'd guess not much better

soon enough the rain let up a bit and allowed me to rush through the remaining lanterns (missed quite a few.. especially the ghost ones)
but I just had to get this one
seeing I just discovered Loy Krathong...
and rushed on to the next part of my visit... the Ice Dome

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