In every country, in every world that I want to visit, I want to be a part of its ordinary life for a while. I want to soak up its culture, customs, environment and especially the emotions of the people. And in these worlds, I want to capture the moments of emotions into the photographs and then create a unique glass object about each of these worlds, into which the sum of everything experienced here will be imprinted, like three dots at the end of a sentence…
Thailand was chosen as the first country of the project and at the same time also as the base for further possible trips to other Asian countries, as the other parts of the project.
The reasons for this decision is the number of Thai friends and collaborators on this project, as well as the fact that I have always had a deeper relationship with this country, people and culture.
CONTENT OF THE PROJECT
The basis of the project is to live in Thailand for 2-3 months or longer, i fit is possible, during which will be taken photographs not only from traditional tourist places, but mainly from the current and traditional life of Thais, which are not so publicly known, and will focus mainly on emotional side of people and places.
At the end of the stay, a mold melted glass sculpture will be created based on the emotions and experiences experienced.
Presentation and promotion
After that, the best photographs will be presented, including the created glass sculpture, at a public exhibition in any galleries in the Czech Republic or Germany or Austria. (1)
Throughout the ongoing project, the photos and texts will be continuously presented on my blog of websites and social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram. Maybe special websites and social sites will be created, if there are other cooperators.
The stay in Thailand: February – April (maybe longer) 2021 (1, 2)
Creating glass sculpture: May – September 2021
Exhibitions: September 2021 – 2022
(1) If it were possible to cooperate with one of the Thai galleries, other institutions like yours, or other cultural institution in Thailand, Czech Republic or elsewhere, it would certainly be beneficial. Both in the form of exhibitions and the promotion of this project in any way.
(2) The exact places and dates will be specified only after resolving the date of stay in Thailand, which depends on the possibilities of the current Covid situation.
Lampang – province
Chiang Mai – province
Chiang Rai – province
Mae Hong Son – province
Nan – province
EASTHERN CIRCUIT – ISAN
Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) -city
Khon Kaen – province
Udon Thani – province
Nong Khai – province
Buriram – province
Phetchabun – province
Mukdahan – province
MIDDLE and WESTERN CIRCUIT
Bangkok – capital city
Ayutthaya – city
-Pattaya – city
-Si Racha – city
Kanchanaburi – province
-Laem Sing – beach
Krabi – province
Phuket – island
Surat Thani – province
Phang Nga – province
-Khao Sok – island
-Mu Ko Similan – island
-Ko Surin Nuea – island
CHAPTER I. – PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY ON-LINE
Now it is strange time, strange period. Until recently, the world was so small. All you had to do was to take a mobile phone, buy a ticket and in a few hours, at most days, you were on the other side of the world. You could visit almost any place and meet almost anyone. Unfortunately, this is not possible now.
The first place of my project is Thailand, which is, like many other countries, closed. However, our hearts, our dreams and plans, and the deepness of Thai girls eyes are not closed.
So the only possibility of making photographies “in Thailand” is a mobile phone and everything online. To find a place with a good light online, choose clothes online, get instructions online … But the most important thing was to have a model, my beautiful Thai girl Nidnoi Prapatsorn, with whom there is an amazing collaboration, and we both enjoyed it at least by this way.
No filters were used in the mobile device during the photo shoot and I have used post-production for lights and background only to a necesary extent.
CHAPTER II. – ENTRY INTO THE CLOSED WORLD
10. – 11. 2. 2021
One and a half year of planning. One year of waiting. Waiting for any change, opportunity, any loophole that would allow me to make my journey to Thailand. To the so close country a year ago, but to the closed country these days.
Everything has changed, the whole world has changed. What we took for granted became rare and distant.
I have checked the entry rules to Thailand every day of the year. And that moment has come. The loophole has appeared. It has been lined a number of “special” conditions, documents, health tests and mandatory quarantine in Thailand.
The rules are so demanding, that only about 11,000 other “aliens” from the all over the Earth in the last 4 months have decided to go through them.
What freedom means
Countdown, airport, Prague, the Czech Republic
Flights, Qatar Arways
photo by mobile phone
Flight to the Bangkok quarantine, Prague – Bangkok
by mobile phone
Until the last moment before entering the “check in” at the airport in Prague, I was still checking a lot of documents needed to enter Thailand. I expected a moment to come when I have been excited, nervous, have looked forward, but it didn’t happen. Instead the moment, there was a huge relaxation and a wonderful feeling of emptiness, when I got on the plane.
I had forgotten about this feeling a long time ago, because it had become a matter of course. The feeling of looking forward to anything new and the uknown with no fear and no expectations at all, because we know that the new, whatever it may be, will be about living.
I remember knowing that feeling in my life. When, after the revolution, I could decide for myself where I wanted to work and no one could order me to do so. When I could travel abroad for the first time and buy ordinary shoes there and no one took them from me at the border. When I just went to Amsterdam for a few days and I could come back at any time. When I just took the car and traveled around Europe because I just wanted to. When I could have moved to London because it was the easiest way to learn English. And when I recently decided to get rid of the burdens that had bound me and I sold my property, house, lands. And I have always done that in spite of the courts of others, always against their clear idea of my life.
This feeling is called freedom. It is a right for one’s own decision.
Freedom contains discomfort
The mere processing of the documents necessary for permission to enter Thailand would result in a very long but boring article. More interesting, however, were some changes in traveling and some components of the new conditions of entry into Thailand.
Even before departure, I took a private quarantine at home, which was not so complicated, as there is a lockdown in the Czech Republic. I don’t want to spend Covid treatment in Thailand, that hasn´t been the reason for my trip. So I left all the guys not wearing a respirator, not keeping a safe distance, and the other similar today’s “heroes,” who have no idea what non-freedom actually means. And secondly, there was a practical point of view also. I didn’t want to lose the money it all costs, just because of to bee a false hero.
For the entire 20 hours of the trip, counting from leaving home to entering the quarantine hotel, I wore a respirator, except when I ate or drank. Surprisingly, it was no problem and after a while I stopped perceiving the respirator. And even when I managed to fall asleep. Unlike cloth masks, the respirators do not get wet so quickly.
What was strange and a little monstrous, however, were my feelings about other changes that met me along the way.
Already at the airport, I found out that passengers on each flight are divided by zones and are also checked in by zones. In groups. As I understand it, the zones were determined by the risk of the areas they traveled from, with each area requiring different documentation. Even during my previous setting of the documents the rules changes twice. The group of the first zone, from the least risky area, always went to the plane first.
In the plane itself, the middle seat of three always remained empty, which was certainly not a coincidence or lack of passengers, as I thought at first. Only the members of families could sit together, of course.
Where are the times when you were served by beautiful flight attendants. They are probably still beautiful, but it’s not visible under masks and under white disposable coats. But at least their eyes were smiling.
One of the other little things, it shows me, it is “strange time”, was the painted footsteps in the airport bus, where you had to stay on them after the recalculation of incoming passengers.
However, I felt the biggest change at the airport in Bangkok. I had very strange, mixed feelings. I didn’t even have any time and thoughts to enjoy being at my destination. All the passengers of my flight had to walk through a clearly defined corridor, which was lined with uniformed members, employees, and other staff dressed largely in white coats, with masks, shields, rubber gloves, or protected behind plexiglass. This staff took care of us, all the way through this corridor, we had to keep our spacings and they sent us gradually in groups, from one check point to another, counted us again and again. Each check point specialized only in checking a certain part of the documents.
At the end, at the exit from the airport, carriers of individual quarantine hotels waited. They were checking my documents and then going with me into a car – van intended for transport to a quarantine hotel.
The van was with 3×3 seats at the back, separated from the driver again by plaxiglass. Each passenger had its own row of 3 seats, so there was a maximum of 3 passengers in the van.
For the first time in my life, I felt like I was part of making a few movies. I may consider some of these situations important, different, strange, serious, exaggerated, unnecessary or ridiculous. But noone of them were such as to restrict my freedom. I have experienced non-freedom but these situations are interesting stories only and experiences.
Airport, Doha, Qatar
Airport bus, Doha, Qatar
Check out, Airport, Bangkok, Thailand
photo by mobile phone
CHAPTER III. – QUARANTINE
18. 2. 2021
If there were not for several times lockdowns at home in the Czech Republic because of the Covid 19 infection, I probably couldn’t imagined what awaits me in the quarantine. But that lockdowns were on for months, so 2 weeks of the quarantine in Bangkok is a while. Although at home I could at least go out, to the woods or to the store, but I am not allowed to leave the hotel room here during the quarantine.
It was necessary to think something out, what I could do in the quarantine. But something was already decided at a time when I was working on this project, during the lockdown at home country.
Today we know that in order to minimize or at least alleviate Covid illness, as well as all diseases, it is good to have strong immunity. I had enough of thinking about my life at the time of the lockdowns. So already during the preparation of the project, I started training, exercising, adjusting my diet and, most importantly, stop bothering myself by things I can’t change and I started thinking about things I can change, about my forgotten and unfulfilled wishes.
Another health aspect of the trip was travel vaccinations for illnesses like jaundice A, B, typhoid fever, cholera, etc., and I got advice from the doctor on medications and ways to increase immunity, which I was working on for several months.
I’m not going to write about how important all this is in life even without Covid, but I have to admit that it wasn’t until Covid really forced me to do something for myself. And I have to say that that year helped me physically and mentally and I also lost the 14 kilos that I couldn’t lose for years.
When the opportunity to enter Thailand finally come, I knew it has taken about 4-6 weeks to manage all tho documents. It was time to prepare myself. If it had been another time, I probably wouldn’t deal with that much, but anything can happen in the covid age. And more in the case where I plan to be in Thailand for 2-3 months, when anything can happen, from infection with Covid to the re-closure of the Thai border and the cancellation of air traffic. These ideas would be considered exaggerated caution or hysteria, but this “impossible” situation happened in the spring of 2020.
I knew I would have time in the quarantine for a few things. Firstly to continue exercising to be testing even more possibilities of my photographic equipment, to be writing this blog and continue learning Thai language.
Compulsory entry quarantine in Bangkok – exercising
by mobile phone
Initiation of quarantine
When I arrived from the Bangkok airport to the hotel and the van door opened, there were two ladies or girls dressed again as our doctors in the covid wards with a masks, shields, rubber gloves. They measured my temperature again and checked my passport. All I wanted after 20 hours of traveling was a shower. They took me to the 7th floor and led me into my room. Only here did I realize that they had already brought my luggage to the room before.
The room was quite ordinary, including the equipment, was clean and tidy. So no problem in that regard.
I must not leave the room from now on.
The only exceptions when I could open the door was placing a plastic garbage bag into the hallway in front of the room and picking up the prepared meal, which appeared on a chair in front of the room 3 times per day. I’ve never heard of anyone there, so the only possibility was that the chair was magical – see video at my facebook. Why not, we have a magic tablecloths in the Czech Republic.
The magic chair and the others – the Thai version of a fairy tale about a magic tablecloth, time in mandatory quarantine, Cinnamon Residence, Bangkok, Thailand
photo by mobile phone
I also had to upload a communication application via a QR code. I choose WhatsApp. Why? Because every morning and evening they sent me a request for a photo of the thermometer with my current temperature and a questionnaire about my health.
In everyday life, trivial things happen every day and you won’t even remember them. However, in this type of isolated quarantine, any trivial change was a welcome event of great significance. So here were my “big events” like were the view from windows.
Only one view for 15 days, time in mandatory quarantine, Cinnamon Residence, Bangkok, Thailand
Every morning, 2 pigeons arrived at my mini-balcony. I didn’t know how they did it, but whenever I woke up, they arrived a second later and started talking. I didn´t understand them, they were Thai.A couple of moscitos appeared here every day. It seemed that they didn´t liked me, same like in the Czech Republic, so I hoped it could stay that way.
On the fifth and thrirteenth days of my quarantine, I had my first test for Covid. The first opportunity to look for 15 minutes outside the hotel room. Nice.
Compulsory entry quarantine in Bangkok – passing 1th and 2nd Covid tests
by mobile phone
But the really biggest events were when my girlfriend brought me some fruit and yogurt, she left it for me at the reception, because she couldn’t come to me, and then she came to the corner of the hotel and we were talking from the window. Although via mobile phone, because it was about 40m, but it was the only time in a long time when we were closest.
Those who have not experienced what it is, when they can only chat with someone close to them via video chat for a few months, because the borders had been closed, it will be difficult to understand how ridiculous 15 days of quarantine are.
My lovely supplier Nidnoi and The first Covid test. Time in mandatory quarantine, Cinnamon Residence, Bangkok, Thailand
26. 2. 2021
In the first minute of the new day on February 26, I am leaving the mandatory quarantine at Cinnamon Residence in Bangkok and this project is starting in full swing.