General Street Scenes, Hat Yai
In our usual morning walk thru the city, we came across this aerobic session in the open spaces in front of the Robinson Department Store in the vicinity of the Hatyai raiway station... The music was lively as the the people exercise in rhythm with the music and the leader who is on a raised platform...
Nearby, there are some elderly ladies doing slow motion tai chi exercise...
Favorite thing: While in most Asian cities like Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, the city roads are normally swept in the morning, Hatyai washes its roads every morning... A water tanker with a high powered water hose is used for the purpose as can be seen from the picture... This will be done at the break on dawn... while we were having our usual morning walk thru the streets of the city...
Spirit houses are an important part of Thai culture. The majority of houses and buildings have them outside. The bigger and more important the building, then the bigger and grander will be the spirit house. The idea is simple. The best way to keep evil spirits out of your own house is to give the spirits a house of their own. Each day food and incense is put inside the spirit house. It needs to remain a comfortable and welcoming place otherwise the spirits may decide to leave and take up residence with you, which wouldn't be a good thing.
When the time comes for the spirit house to be replaced though it can't just be thrown out with the rest of the rubbish. It has to be left in a special place. Now, I don't know how these spirit house dumping grounds are determined but what you find is that there are certain locations where piles of old ones have been left.
A woman at the market near Wat Hat Yai Nai prepares a bowl of chilis while feeding her granddaughter.
Unfortunately for them both, a strange-looking white-skinned, large-nosed farang fella is cruising the streets with a camera.
Favorite thing: These buckets filled with food items, toiletries and other goodies can be purchased to give to monks. It is not allowed to give monks money so I was surprised recently by a guy dressed as a monk spinning me some story about not having enough money to get to his next location and asking for 100 Baht. I didn't give him any as I didn't believe he was genuine. Monks can eat only what is in the alms bowl and can be seen, normally early in the morning, receiving alms. It is very respectful for every Thai male to spend time as a monk at some stage in his life, even if it is only for a relatively short time. Giving alms to the monks is an honourable act for Buddhist Thais and good for karma.
Fondest memory: I think that Pfizer are worried about the impact copycat fake drugs are having on Viagra sales. The large billboard reads "Don't risk your valuables with fake drugs. Consult a doctor or a pharmacist about erectile health." This sign also says a lot about Hat Yai's main weekend activity.
Favorite thing: There is a different concept of time in Asia, as compared to Western Europe and North America. The people here tend to work long hours, typically starting at 8am and finishing their day 12 or more hours later. Some may get one day off a week, others work every day. However, I have observed that although they may be at their place of work they only actually work when there is demand. When there is not they talk, relax or even sleep. The Western culture of intense work all day, or at least to be seen to be working intensely all day, has fortunately not reached this part of the world, in general.
Fondest memory: Walking around and meeting people. These two lads had obviously invested in Singha shares and were doing their bit to increase profits. We chatted for a while but despite their invitation it was too early for me to start drinking beer.
The only people I've ever seen wearing these ridiculous platform boots are bargirls. In Hat Yai you can buy a used pair, if that's what you're in to.
Only in Thailand .....
Favorite thing: These little porkers didn't have much of a life before being prepared for the table. They are a favourite dish with the Chinese.
This section contains no tips or practical information, just images to give a general impression of Hat Yai.
This is a shot inside the shop selling the monk's goodie buckets.
Fondest memory: The Chinese like caged song birds. Hat Yai has a large Chinese population so consequently this is a common sight on the streets.