Say, “Pretty Painted Paraols” three times fast. Ha ha.
A smart traveler finds his/her own way to duplicate what tour companies tout on their own for a fraction of the price. In Thailand, a full-day tour can cost upwards of $25 USD per person for no actual guidance, but instead a minivan ride to/from tourist place to tourist place. A smart traveler, armed with a guide book and a little luck overcoming translation issues can duplicate the exact same itinerary for under $5 USD. The money saved can go towards a nicer guesthouse room the next night or even a bottle of rare Italian wine with dinner. A combination of a tuk-tuk and and songethaw truck with a group of monks got me out of town to the middle of the pretty painted parasol (or umbrella) village.
As a photographer, I love COLOR. Bor Sang, Thailand, just outside of Chiang Mai is full of umbrella “manufacturers” (a.k.a. slave wage laborers making handmade rice paper umbrellas). All umbrellas are made one-by-one out of a combination of bamboo, wood and rice paper and hand-painted by different artists. These umbrellas have no functional use, but they sure are beautiful. Get the rice paper wet and it’s bye bye umbrella. Ted thinks they should be called parasols instead, since they only block the sun, not the rain. Does it matter, really?
To make the umbrella process a little more interactive, I hope you’ll enjoy the quick video I’ve uploaded so you can see it for yourself. My little Canon point in shoot takes great video!