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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Back

Bangkok is a city of contradictions. The ultra-modern lines of the mega malls rise above the cities, attached by the sky train the people are enclosed away from the dirty, broken streets below, protected from the noise and pollution of the never ending expressways. It's easy to play Eloi in these monuments to modern architecture. The levels are all encompassing, rising from the aquarium of the basement floor through the dedicated levels of food courts, designer goods, electronics, household, books, cars (cars! inside the mall!), beauty, all topped with a multiplex cinema.

We descended from these castles in the sky to the Morlocks below. Their territory is hot and dusty and so loud. People line the streets hawking their wares, chopping great baskets of fruit, shouting for you to come to see, to buy, very cheap, very good. The con men line the streets in taxis and tuk-tuks, stopping us every few feet to see if we want a ride, but we know their game and keep making our way over the cracked pave stones, keeping an eye and a hand to our bags as we go. It's not as nice as the clean, air-conditioned shopping centres, but the street markets are more real and more interesting than their new counterparts, and stumbling upon the tiny patches of startling beauty the city still holds is all the more breathtaking for it's unpolished surroundings.

You get the feeling that things age quickly, but there are still beauty marks on the face of Bangkok. The Grand Palace is a great jeweled eye, drawing people in from afar. Between the relentless march of stores lining the roads are littered brilliant yellow shrines, laid with garlands of fresh golden flowers, at odds with the corrugated grey and brown surroundings. People teem from every pore, an uncontainable mass. This is not a city for a leisurely walk, there is nowhere for you to stand dumb in your amazement, and with the haze of pollution hanging low one does not go to 'breath the air' of this place in any sense.

Good bye Bangkok. For better or worse I shall not forget you.

2 comments:

Once Upon A Dieter said...

I see talent for travel writing there, babe. :) Plus, hey, I dig sci-fi references.

Nice to have you back. HAPPY NEW YEAR from your friendly fatfighting Princess... :)

Grumpy Chair said...

I agree, nice travel writing.

Hope you did enjoy your vacation.

Happy new year Zanitta.