After four years in Thailand I realised I was spending too much time at my desk writing or traveling in other countries, and not enough exploring the many facets of Thai life. So, I've made an effort these last months to learn more about this country.
Despite the heat and humidity, biking in Thailand is a growing pastime. Never was this more apparent than on August 16 when tens of thousands of Thais came out to "Bike for Mom" in honour of Queen Sirikit's birthday.
The mood changed dramatically just the next day, when a bomb exploded at Bangkok's Erawan Shrine, a spiritual centre for Thais and tourists alike. Twenty people were killed and dozens injured in the blast. I joined and photographed a multi-faith tribute to the victims a couple of days later.
But life went on.
Thailand is known for its festivals. In October I traveled to Phuket to visit the famous vegetarian festival, also known as the Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods. It includes rituals that conjure the gods to inhabit and protect their human hosts during fire walking, face piercing and bladed ladder climbing.
A woman inhabited by the benevolent Guanyin.
Finally the water buffalo festival at Chonburi in late October. Here, farmers from throughout the region bring their beloved buffaloes to town to participate in races and beauty contests. I have to say, there's nothing quite like the feeling of several tonnes of water buffalo running full bore down a short track towards you...
Looking forward to more Thai life in the months to come.