ravings, rantings and ramblings
The best way to know a place, they say, is to eat the local food and walk the place. And so, I was on foot in a city that has earned many infamous epithets – Bangkok.
This teeming city is bursting at its seams as it gets hordes and hordes of tourists. People of all hues everywhere – on pavements, in shops, in shacks, in trains, in buses, in tuk-tuks, in cars, just about everywhere. Walking the streets in a light drizzle was better than sitting in a bus that moved 10 metres in 1 hour. Caught in Friday rush hour with the skies pouring is a bad idea. And so, me and my co-travellers yanked out our strolleys and started walking to the hotel in Sukhumvit area.
What caught my attention was the roadside shops that sold just about everything. I have seen the likes of those in many places in the world. An aluminium skeleton covered in tarpaulin that dripped rainwater on every passer-by. Batman tee shirts jostled with locally made nighties, cheap watches that said ‘Rolex’ sat next to pornographic DVDs, and the peaceful Buddha sitting nonchalantly beside dildos – Bangkok looked to me like a confused teenager.
As a city, Bangkok knows where to put its money. Shawarma joints rub shoulders with satays and green curry. Shisha joints have sprung up like shiitake mushrooms. Street vendors and massage girls who know working Arabic. Egyptian, Iraqi and Lebanese restaurants serving Middle Eastern fare with a ‘Sawadika’ greeting.
Something else that I noticed was that the city had sold its soul. Temples (and there are many), are only tourist attractions (and maybe a morning absolution for many). So, Lord Vishnu danced in the Suvarnabhumi International Airport and the Buddha lent his name to many bars. Everything else was a materialistic debauchery. Women accost everywhere. Pity when men look at school girls that way.
Well, that pretty much was it. For now Bangkok is just a stamp in my passport and in memory.