a day in Old Phuket Town

December 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

On of our last days in Thailand I spent with Mr. Samai who knew the side of Phuket many tourists never see inside and out. This was apparent as we walked around the dense and busy market with folks greeting him at every turn.  This market was sprawling and every time I was sure there could not possibly be more stalls we would turn into another building or another outside open area where every space was used to sell goods.    The smells were so strong and the hum of activity never quit as it was an especially bust market morning as folks were preparing for a Buddhist festival that began the next morning. Thetsakan Kin Che is a vegetarian festival that happens in Phuket each year.  It is a Thai festival that is heavily Chinese Buddhist influenced and involves people eating only vegetarian food for weeks. It is well known because many highly religious people dress in all white will go into trances and perform ritualized mutilations on themselves and each other.  The market was crammed with people preparing for this festival. 

These are curry pastes sold by the kilo.  The variety and fragrant spicy smells are amazing!

The architecture in Old Town shows the history of Phuket in row homes that were built by the Portuguese next to more traditional and modern Thai buildings. 

I live to hear people's stories and I love meeting folks just doing their daily lives.  I always look for people with interesting faces that are just begging for me to ask them questions.  This man smiled at me and had the best big smile hidden under his beard so I crossed the street to greet him.  When I approached him to talk to him he was shy at first but once I started asking questions about his culture and family he quickly unwrapped his beard dreads from behind his neck and hidden under his shirt.  They best told part of his story. He explained his dreads are a tribute to family members he lost on the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami as he had not cut his hair in over 10 years.  He got emotional sharing about them and said he still thinks of them everyday.  I consider it a gift that he was able to share his pain and tribute with us and am always grateful for opportunities like this because meeting people is what I love about photography.  Photography can tell stories and I am drawn to the stories.  After some time talking and hearing more of his story that first big smile came out again and I asked if I could make a portrait of him. 

Sometimes being in tight spaces gives you a great vantage point....just don't get hit by a motorbike!   Under a massive tent vendors were selling everything from fresh veggies and fruit to curries and trinkets and household items.  Everything is up for a bargain and I asked this man selling veggies if I could make a portrait of him.  I made this image and seconds later his grand daughter ran to him and I kept shooting (always keep shooting!). I just adored watching this sweet reunion and the softness this little girl brought to her grand father's face.  His wife and I stood together giggling about the sweet moment.  

This man was shredding coconut that is sold by the kilo and used in many amazing foods in Thailand. 

Street snacks are for sale on every corner. 

My guide and fixer for the day was Mr. Samai and he laughed and told me that I ask a lot of questions. Yes, I do. I want to learn all the things....I love hearing about people and I have found what I enjoy most about traveling is hearing and seeing and experiencing people from different cultures.  

 

A few more portraits made in Old Phuket Town. 

A great day of exploring in Old Phuket Town was amazing. Just sitting with people and asking questions was my favorite!!! Grateful for the people we met and for a chance to explore and learn from folks about their culture and lives.  

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