March 20, 2012

Thailand Treasures! Jewelry & Crafts - PART II



(For the first part of this post click here)

***

We couldn't miss a paper parasols workshop! I bought a little one just for the sake of having one, because I wouldn't know where to put a big one in our apartment.

I was amazed by the whole process of making this traditional craft, 100% handmade from scratch and taking advantage of their local resources.



Our last destination was crazy Bangkok!, unfortunately we couldn't visit the National Museum, so I missed the classical jewelry collection, nail jewelry, head pieces, ostentatious gems and gold, etc...

BUT I really enjoyed a more accesible kind of jewelry, amulets!
As a birthday gift I received an engraved silver locket for amulets, so we visited the HUGE amulet market close to the Wat Mahathat looking to get some for my locket. I bought three without really knowing the meaning behind them (language barrier!), but I enjoyed watching the collectors chasing hidden treasures through huge piles of amulets.
By the way, these amulet lockets, come in many shapes and materials for all tastes and budgets.
Most of them have one or two windows covered by glass or plastic framing the amulet.



They go from as little as $1 to thousands! not only their figure, material and engraving is important, also who was the person who made it: if it was a very charismatic monk, then it's believed that the amulet powers are even greater! (and so will be their price)
If you are reading this and are from Thailand, could you help me read the amulets I bought?!



Finally, a picture of some treasures I picked up from Railay Beach, the simplest way to take a little piece of that paradise with me.


I hope you liked the pictures! What's your favorite piece of jewelry from an exotic trip?

March 16, 2012

Thailand Treasures! Jewelry & Crafts - PART I

It's been already FOUR months since our trip to Thailand.
In this post I'll share with you some pictures from the jewelry and crafts I saw in the trip.
The first ones are from my birthday, November 24th! That day we took a long tour through the North of Thailand, and the first visit was to this amazing "all white" Temple in Chiang Rai.



Then we visited the hot springs of Chiang Mai (not very impressive for me), where I bought this lovely bracelet - for its price I was almost sure it wasn't silver, but the simplicity of its wire twisting made it an interesting piece!
(If you go there, have in mind that it's almost impossible to get real silver, being so close to the hot springs = sulfur! all the pieces would be black if not extreme care is taken, so be cautious with what you pay for!)

After the hot springs, we visited the "golden triangle", the point where Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma) intersect. We crossed to the Myanmar border for an hour, which wasn't enjoyable, unless you are interested in buying fake purses or cobra whisky (!).



Then, the night started to fall down, and we arrived to a "Long Neck Karen" tribe (originally from Myanmar, now also in some regions of the north of Thailand).

In that place, no daylight meant starry night and time to sleep, so, in a hurried visit we could briefly interchange some smiles and gestures while admiring their traditional jewelry - I even carried one of their super heavy brass necklaces.
It looks like it does, but the necklace doesn't enlarge their necks: it compresses their rib cage and clavicle making an illusion of a long neck instead.



I've read that the reason for this tradition could have started as a way to protect their necks and legs from possible tiger attacks, or as a way to deform their bodies to make themselves less appealing to slavery, or even just for beauty purposes, which I think has to be the right one! They look really beautiful walking slowly and gracefully to balance their bodies.
It could sound a little bit extreme from a western point of view, but I don't see it all that different from all the crazy things we do to accomplish our beauty canons.

There I bought a nickel bracelet, it seemed to have been made just by cold processes like chiseling, hammering and foldings. The metal is so soft that it's easy to open and mold around the arms or legs.

We then visited a wooden workshop at Chiang Mai, with very impressive works, from tiny boxes to colossal carved wood panels.

At the biggest Chiang Mai craft fair I saw stands with handmade repousse Nickel works, from little bookmarks to huge thai royal scenes.

***

Wait for the Part II with: Paper Parasols, Amulets and nature treasures ;)

March 12, 2012

A weekend in Paris





This time I want to share with you a few pictures from past weekend, I went to Paris with Maxi to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary.
I dreamed about going to Paris all my life, and the first time I visited it it was with him, for our honeymoon. Now that we live in Amsterdam, going back to that marvelous city is way easier (we are originally from Mexico and Argentina), so we didn't miss the opportunity for a love celebration and self indulgence weekend at la belle Paris.
After the pictures you'll find some tips for places to visit in case you are planning to go there!
Esta vez quiero compartir contigo algunas fotos del pasado fin de semana, fui a París con Maxi para celebrar nuestro 4to aniversario de bodas.
Toda mi vida soñé con ir a París, y la primera vez que fui fue con él en nuestra luna de miel, ahora viviendo en Amsterdam volver a esta maravillosa ciudad es mucho más fácil (somos originarios de México y Argentina). Así que no perdimos la oportunidad de tener un fin de semana para celebrar el amor en la bella París.
Después de las imágenes agregué algunas direcciones que te pueden ser útiles cuando visites la ciudad.

Notre Dame // Taschen bookshop at St. Germain

Just window shopping  // Delicious Macarons from Ladurée

At Galerie Goutte de Terreit was very nice to meet the face behind Lunaticart: Berenice, a mexican jewelry designer based in Paris! // Notre Dame
Fue muy especial conocer en Galerie Goutte de Terre a la creadora detrás de Lunaticart, Berenice, una diseñadora de joyería mexicana residiendo en París.

We enjoyed a Sunday brunch with Berenice and her family at Le Comptoir Général, a place with a great atmosphere including a beautiful cabinet of curiosities.
Disfrutamos de un "brunch" con Berenice y su familia en Le Comptoir Général, un lugar con una atmósfera increíble que incluso tiene un hermoso gabinete de curiosidades.

Detail from the hotel // I found this great publication at a second hand bookshop, Lalique is one of my favorite jewelers! (just for the record, Calouste Gulbenkian is a museum in Lisbon)
Encontré esta increíble publicación en una librería de segunda mano, Lalique es uno de mis joyeros favoritos! (por cierto, este museo no está en París sino en Lisboa)

Simply walking with my hubby for hours and hours in this wonderful city was a great way to celebrate our love, I hope many years together keep coming by!
Simplemente caminar con mi marido por horas y horas en esta maravillosa ciudad fue la manera perfecta de celebrar nuestro amor, espero que nos queden muchísimos años más juntos!

***

Have a ridiculously delicious, not very expensive, well served french dinner at Les Papilles
30 rue Gay Lussac
make a reservation with anticipation

Treat yourself with the best chocolate at Angelina
226 rue de Rivoli

Try the macarons from Ladurée, they taste as beautiful as they look!
16 -18 rue Royale Paris VIII

Enjoy organic and fresh crêpes at Little Breizh
11, rue Gregoire de Tours

Have a brunch at the super cool Comptoir a Général
80, quai de Jemmapes
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