Having been at sea to "bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world" since February 2009, the Logos Hope has arrived in Bangkok in the timely year the city has been bestowed the title of World Book Capital. The floating book fair recently anchored at Klong Toey Port allowing Bangkok's bibliophiles to enjoy their literary love and cultural diversity.
Built as a passenger car ferry in 1973, the vessel was originally named Gustav Vasa. It sailed North Atlantic routes until 1983 before being renamed Norrona. In 2004, the ship was finally sold to its current owner, GBA Ships e.V. (GBA stands for Good Books for All), a non-profit organisation based in Germany. After extensive renovations, the Logos Hope has been readied for her new charitable role as a floating bookstore and a messenger of goodwill.
In Greek, "logos" means word, thought, principle or speech. The 130m-long biblio ship sails, promising hope around the world to provide access to literature and a wide range of aid and relief projects to every port city she arrives in. There are over 400 volunteers of 16 nationalities on board. The crew members represent international understanding and promote peace by embracing global cultures.
With nine decks in all, avid readers can gain access to the common area on Deck 4 which comprises a reception area, experience deck, bookstore and cafeteria. Being the world's largest floating bookshop, the vessel carries over 5,000 titles of various subjects for family members. Young bookworms can frolic in the expansive kids' corner. Added to its large range of English books, Thai material is also offered while the Logos Hope is in town.
The books here are sold in "Units". You need B80 to buy 100 Units of the Logos Hope's own currency (25 Units = B20). But fret not, as there are price signs around the store. Honestly, all the titles are price-worthy. Classics like Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Bronte's Jane Eyre and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina are priced at 150 Units, which equals a mere B120! Although there are credit card terminals, cash payment in Thai baht is preferred. Do spare some money. After the main cashiers, you'll find a cut-priced corner where three hardcover and/or paperback reference books are sold at B400.
As the Logos Hope's crew and staff consist of volunteers from around the globe, in addition to the bookstore, one of the highlights is to bring its cultural programmes to visitors. Join the International Night on Mar 1 when the multicultural show will celebrate diversity in music and dance (ticket B50). The English Cafe on Mar 5 will allow participants to improve conversational skills with the crew members through entertaining activities (ticket B40).
The Logos Hope will be docked at T2, West Quay, Klong Toey Port until Mar 11 (Tue-Sat 10am-9:30pm, Sun-Mon 2-9:30pm). Entry is B20, or free for children aged under 12 accompanied by a parent. For more info, visit www.logoshope.org/thailand.
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About the author
- Writer: Pimchanok Phungbun Na Ayudhya