Thursday 8 July 2010

Golden Triangle -- Hall of Opium Museum, what a trip!

And so, it was farewell to the four-legged surefooted elephants at the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant camp, and back to the nimble two-wheeled possibility of my BMW 650.
Not that we went very far before dismounting … about 500 metres to be exact.

You see the Hall of Opium Museum is directly opposite the Anantara’s entrance. It sits on a 40-hectare tract of landscaped land, with an impressive modern building housing the museum. (It was established by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, under Royal Patronage.)

 Intriguingly you enter in one side of the building and exit via another. The starting point is a long uphill ‘tunnel’ with disconcerting bas relief mural images of suffering opium users. It’s as though Picasso’s war-time masterpiece La Guernica and that other bloke’s The Scream have fused into one 3-D walk-through work of art. Jing jing!
Then you enter a series of very modern and airy chambers dedicated to different aspects of opium. Its international history (and a big hello to you Doctors Jardine and Matheson), its local popularity, its booming prosperity, the tools of the trade, the smuggling rackets, the pushers and the users. All wonderfully and colourfully curated. Posters, animations, videos, 3-D recreations.

 There’s a net feeling of sadness: what a wasteful (not to mentioned wasted) outcome opium produced. Of shattered lives and dreams. The needle and the damage done.

 A powerful and potent portrayal. Do not miss out on this.It's a real trip, man.

(Footnote: don’t be fooled by a lesser imitation in the touristy part of town billing itself as the Opium Museum. Visit the real one.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

DO please leave your comments below ... always happy to hear feedback and suggestions from engaging fellow travellers (but if you are an auto-bot kindly $#@& off)