Nakhon Si Thammarat

Barb and I enjoyed a lazy day today, skipping the morning trip to a big market. The markets are really very much fun. Everything is sold in little booths maybe 10 feet square, like at a craft show. Things are more or less sorted by types, but not perfectly. Great produce sections, with every greenery a tropical climate can produce, which is mindboggling. Butcher sections which have all parts of the animal, all fresh and cut to order. Spices piled up in heaps of every color and type. Cloths are varied, mostly western, but aslo sarongs, and beautiful bolts of cloth. Metalworking sections, car and motorbike parts, hardware, electrical, just everything heaped in piles. But we have seen several, and since we need little at the market, I just cant see going to another.

This afternoon we went to the local museum which was interesting, and then watched a bird competition.

This was a highlight.Song bird cages are set up in a line hanging from a long rail. The owners are behind a rope maybe 20 feet away, and take turns coaching their birds to sing on command. The whole family gets into the act, making clicking noises, grunts, or squeals or whatever signal gets that particular bird going. There’s also a lot of hand signals: OK signs, V signs, finger pointing, hand waving, a proverbial sign language display with each bird having it’s own version of a signal.
Then abruptly there is a whistle and it is time for the next bird in line to sing. One set of owners goes silent, the next starts, and the whole thing recommences, with the judge moving down one cage.
We were perplexed by the whole process, and it seemed that the results of all the ruckus ranged from nothing to wholehearted warbling. Of course many of the other birds were just singing along normally so the end results is a pleasant cacophony and total chaos to the unititiated.

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