Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bangkok Days and Nights

Bangkok is a weird and wonderful city. Where else could you ride a electric pink taxi across town, jump on an ancient wooden river boat to float upstream passing tiny wooden houses and golden palaces before boarding an ultra modern skytrain to zip above the traffic to a hospital that has a Starbucks, McDonalds and an Italian fine dining restaurant in its foyer.

Then it's onto the streets where vendors can whip up any kind of Thai delicacy on a tiny open flame, racks of dried squid hanging like jewellery displays, pink, yellow and green fruit glistens in glass cases, mountains of t-shirts, shoes and bags are for sale on the ground outside shopping centres that are like marble palaces dedicated to every designer label on the planet. Then it is an agonizing choice for lunch, Thai, japanese, Indian - North and South, Italian, Egyptian, Greek, Arab or even Ethiopian.

As night falls there are dogs wearing t-shirts and necklaces, tourists getting fake dreadlocks and tidy teenage Thai punks who are smiley and polite, badass tuk tuk drivers burn around the streets all blue smoke and disco lights.

Everynight in Bangkok feels like a combination of New Years Eve and Mardi Gras - people are out and about everynight eating, drinking, dancing and shopping, shopping, shopping. There are night markets, whole streets filled with outdoor restaurants, karoke, bars, dance clubs all jostling for space with temples, shrines and the ever present traffic jams.

Back down in the tourist strip of Khao Sarn badly dressed tourists wander the streets scoffing banana pancakes, downing beers, chatting up the local girls and getting tattoos. The local bar girls bump and grind on the balconies of clubs and even the police like to stop and have a perv.

It is a dance that happens all over the city every night of the week.

Sydney is going to feel rather quiet after all this methinks.


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