|Your scribe feeling too freaked out to be horny.|
Rather, this is about Thawan Duchanee. And the 30 Gothic black houses he has built in Chiang Rai called Baan Dam (meaning Black House, and absolutely nothing to do with Jean-Claude Baan Dam). OK, I'm going to need you to work with me here as I explain.
Around 36 years ago, Chiang Rai artist Thawan -- whose looks could easily be mistaken for Ho Chi Minh -- had a dream. Apparently it was about clouds and snakes and wild horned beasts with large tusks. So he set about building all these elements into a soaring Thai-style house in the bushland on the road from Chiang Rai to Mae Chan. It's main theme was black. With a little more black on top of that. And surrounded by a bit more black for good measure.
Imagine a tattooist's favourite recurring Gothic nightmare. Imagine Piccasso's famously turbulent anti-war painting La Guernica. Now slam the two together and you have Ban Dam. Jing jing!
He built the first house which caused quite a stir. So he built another. And another. And another. With the aim now of completing 42 of these edifices whose jagged black roof-lines appear starkly above the tree-line.
|The elaborate roof of just one of the out-buildings|
The reddest of red-necks from Texas would envy his collection of bulls' horns which adorn doorways, chairs, and apparently make great coat-stands too. I don't know how else to describe it. Then there's the dinner setting made from all things bovine -- black-and-white cowskin table cloth, cow skull chairs ... just hope that the main course is not beef.
|Detail from a nicely understated lounge suite|
It has to be seen to believed is the usual cliche. But I've seen it. And I still don't believe it ...
Footnote: Baan Dam is located on the Chiang Rai - Mae Chan Road, 18km south of Mae Chan on the left hand side as you head north, just past the Singha warehouse.