Dave’s World: Thailand – Better Late than Never

Blame it on Peter Lynn. And while we are at it, we can blame a piece of it on Ben Dantonio as well. Because the curious fact is that the further travel, the more distant or exotic the destination, the more similar and familiar things start to appear.

What you get are Pilot kites lofting large, creative inflatables over a mass of Revolution fliers standing shoulder to shoulder. We have become victims of our own success. And as a consequence, the more traditional and cultural kites are becoming harder to find.

Case in point: I’m just back from Ch-am in Thailand.

Every two years, I’ve been to this pleasant event at a seaside eco-park two hours from Bangkok. The organizational leadership had changed this year. And the invitation list had shifted dramatically. But in the warm, gusty breezes, the show looked much the same

That’s noteworthy since previous participation had focused on European teams but this year, the attendance was heavily weighted toward Malaysia, Singapore, China, and around the Asian-rim. For the first time in years, New Zealand wasn’t even represented. Revolution was handled by local distributor Craig Wong. But as I’ve suggested, the sky was filled with large and interesting inflatables. Noteworthy was the fact that few looked like Peter Lynn designs. No knock-offs here! Instead we saw a lot of creative and interesting variations.

Our hosts in the Tourism Authority of Thailand took pains to efficiently transport us, provide fine lodging, and plenty of local food. Each day, we’d go to the field at 10 and stay there for lunch, dinner, and a night fly. Locals would typically arrive late in the afternoon as the temperatures began to wane. There was live music and plenty of concession booths. And after dark, the amazing GoFlyKite team from Singapore would fill the sly with RC “kites” beaming with led’s and illuminated tails.

Our SkyForms up high were admired. They are larger and more visual than Pilots while still offering the lift needed to get other jobs done. But the real show-stopper we pulled from our bag were the Eyeball Bouncers.

Local Thai kite teams with their Chula and Pakpau fighters were less prevalent this year. But the opening ceremonies did present exquisite dancers and performers. And of course, we all lined up to have photos taken with the beautiful young girls. Or were they boys…..

On a humorous side note, I’ve been visiting a tailor in Cha-am each time we go. Our group usually spends evenings choosing fabric and designs for suits, dresses, shirts and jackets.

I didn’t have a team this year, but fellow flier Dodd Gross joined me one evening and picked out the same fabric for a new suit. The process involves two fitting and then the piece is ready 24 hours after you start. Dodd grabbed his bag and headed back to the hotel. I stayed to try mine on.

So you can see this one coming. The arms are too long and the jacket won’t button. The tailor looks sheepish. And since there is a banquet starting back at the hotel, I laugh and say we’ll get it straighten out. But he jumps on a scooter and beats me back to hotel to find Dodd.

Thailand is a good event and I was pleased to participate again. I miss the old focus on local kites and regional kite culture. But things change and modernize. As you can see, the kites were magnificent.

Next week, I fly to France for Berck and the World Sport Kite Championships.