Most of the beauty that surrounds me here is a gift from God. The flowers, which can be found in other parts of the world, grow and bloom in abundance here because of the warm weather and high humidity, punctuated by frequent rain showers. I had three little gardenia bushes in Texas, but even with constant watering, they never got more than knee high. The gardenia bush in the compound at the Guest House is over six feet tall. This particular bloom is larger than my open hand with fingers outstretched. Other flowers (captured in thumbnail photos below) include bougainvillea, bird of paradise, hibiscus, and some I don’t know the names of yet.
And blooming plants are not limited to flowers. My favorite tree in Thailand, the flame tree, is in full bloom now. Its stunning orange-red blossoms cover the canopy of a large tree. I have never seen this tree in the USA, but I have seen the same orange-red blossoms on bushes growing in the desert in Arizona. We had one large tree in the compound surrounding the house where I grew up in Chiangmai. Unlike this one on the edge of a busy city street, the flame tree of my childhood had never been cut back or pruned. There are several mimosa trees surrounding one of the city parks in Stephenville, but those trees are no more than twelve feet tall. The mimosa tree in the compound of Christ Church is blooming now and it is huge. (Captured in a thumbnail photo below.)
I am including a photo of another tall building in Bangkok – this one a residential skyscraper called the Met. The Met, according to their website, is a 69-story condominium building that is the fifth tallest building in Thailand and second tallest residential building in Thailand. It contains 370 condominium units. It is composed of six towers connected by skybridges. Sunshades, overhangs, and walls of live greenery filter sunlight and protect interiors from overheating. The gaps between the towers contain terraces with pools and sky gardens. The staggered blocks of the structure’s mass are oriented to let the sun pass through the building on its regular course and the apertures through this building allow breezes to cool the living units. The Met has won the 2009 Bronze Emporis Skyscraper Award. WOHA, the architectural firm, won the Singapore President’s Design Award – Design of the Year 2009 for The Met and, in 2010, the Met won the German “The International Highrise Award” and was cited for “sustainable living conditions in this tropical region without recourse to air conditioning. It is a gorgeous building to look at because of the unique way in which it is built and the beautiful patterns that can be found in it. The building is situated on Sathorn Road, across the street from Christ Church.
So, I am surrounded by beauty, whether in the flowers and trees that are blooming or in the wonderful structures that humans have built. I look forward to seeing what Chiangmai has to offer and know that I won’t be disappointed.