There are few visuals more familiar to the Southeast Asian traveler than a line of brightly robed monks passing down a local street. This particular monk image comes to us from the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya at the Wat Niwet Thammaprawat courtesy of Flickr user Mark Fischer. I love the bright saffron/orange color of the robes and the repeated pattern of the line of men as they stroll purposefully by.
Flickr user Lady Expat is responsible today’s stunning Photo of the Day shot. There’s so much wonderful stuff happening here, it’s hard to describe it all. The first feature you probably noticed are the stunning colors of the green/yellow pillars, which contrast with the soft red folds of the our subject’s robe.
But the real focus here is that mysterious monk. As my eyes savored the image, I found myself returning to this man’s haunting face, an odd mixture of serenity, mystery and grief. It looks like he’s blind but it’s hard to say for certain. Plus there’s the wonderful body language of his clasped hands, wrapped around his knee in a gesture of introversion and hesitance. It’s a fleeting moment that is at once melancholy, but oddly beautiful.
Hotels that have tried to class up their lodging by offering guests bathrobes are receiving a surprise backlash — patrons who want to wear their robe everywhere. Guests at high tea in 5-star hotels have been entertained with less-than-appetizing physiques meandering past their tables in tiny terrycloth wraps.
Due to the decrease in unwritten dress-code respect, hotel managers are attempting to encourage guests to “keep it under wraps.” Some have instructed their bar and restaurant staff not to seat anyone in a robe, and others allow freedom to roam fully-robed only on designated floors. Those who don’t want to outright demand that people scamper back upstairs and change into something that actually covers them are going so far as to redesign their spaces. Tactics include building spas that are adjacent to suites, thus dismissing the need to leave one’s room robed, while others are designing wraps that show a little less skin. Still others have simply thrown in the towel, acknowledging that the fight is not worth the effort.
Thanks to jhayman on flickr.com for the photo of some casually-dressed bar patrons.