Sunday, April 29, 2012

Back to Bangkok and the PkGen Asia show at the Queen's Imperial Park Hotel

After another long (but during daylight, and pretty picturesque) ferry ride back to the mainland, we took an overnight bus (a lot less enjoyable) back to Bangkok to get back in time for a day of adjusting and light training before getting ready for the PkGen Asia debut show.

Coming back to Bangkok after so much time in the south of Thailand was a bit of a culture shock but it was also a very welcome relief to get back to training on a regular basis.  Of course the first place we went to was Saphan Taksin, where we showed Dan Edwardes around (who had just arrived from snowy London, and was soon sweating like a one of those funny-hatted guards in red in summertime).  Dan had come to Thailand to help Stephane with the official launch of PkGen Asia.  This also happened to coincide with a PkGen performance at a rooftop party at the Queen’s Imperial Park Hotel in the heart of the city.  Aparently this party was one of a monthly series of parties that were pretty popular on the Bangkok party scene.  While the initial estimates of 1,500 people sounded pretty outrageous to me when they were outlining the game-plan I was also pretty nervous, especially since this was to be my first official parkour “performance”.

A publicity photo of the hotel as seen from the nearby park.
We arrived a day early at the hotel to check it out and to get things set up for the show, mainly the choreography.  Of course the scaffolding that we were supposed to be performing on wasn’t ready when it was supposed to be, which gave us a much smaller window to practice things in and to figure out our respective routes for the show.  Despite that, we managed to get in enough runs the evening before, and the morning of the event, and I gorged myself into a semi-food coma at the buffet brunch in the morning (it was probably one of 3 meals that I had during my month in Thailand that left me “full”).

A bit of an upgrade from the bungalows of Ton Sai...

Enjoying having my "own room" for the first time in a while.

The set-up.  Photo courtesy of Julie Angel.

Hanging out underneath the scaf to take shelter from the midday sun.  Photo courtesy of Violetta Beral.

Julie figuring out angles for video and grabbing a few still shots.  Photo courtesy of Violetta Beral.

The starting line-up at the top of the roof, preparing to make the descent to the scaf.  Photo courtesy of Violetta Beral . 

Dan making the drop to the scaf.  Photo courtesy of Violetta Beral.
After a power-nap and few last runs on the scaffolding before the reporters started arriving we got ready for the show.  The first (of three) show was actually held right after a press-counference in which Steph announced the launch of PkGen Asia and described a bit about the company and its goals.  The video below was made by Julie Angel and shows a bit of Steph speaking as well as the full show.

After that performance we had a few hours before the next one where we could watch the party start and hang out with the guests.  It was pretty interesting to watch the party begin to unfold and to see the Bangkok "party scene" come to life.  By the time we did the second performance, things were starting to get pretty wild.  The second show went off smoothly and I found that I actually really enjoyed the “performing thing”, especially when it’s doing something that I know well and am comfortable and relaxed doing.  By that time the party was well underway and by the time we did the last performance about a half hour before the party was due to be closed the audience was pretty excited.  Despite some improvised flair elements that threw off some of the timing a bit, the third performance went well.  After a rather prolonged photo-shoot afterwards we headed back to our rooms to take quick showers and change before heading out to join some of the other team members for celebratory smoothies and drinks at a local bar.

The performance team and PkGen Asia staff.  Photo courtesy of PkGen Asia.

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