I sat this morning in McDonalds drinking a coke looking at one of the busy bridges that roll over the busy Sukhmvit road. Now any respectable ‘traveller’ would avoid McDonalds like the plague, but of the many things I have been called respectable isn’t one of them, so I doused my dry mouth that comes from a night of drinking Singha beer with the only thing that will reinstate moisture. A coke from McDonalds.
So, in McDonalds I watched listened to that sacharin Thai love music that always has the most cringeworthy chord progressions and pondered the effect of our races coming together. Now I am aware of the paradox here, but then again travel to me is a chess game of paradox. I read a brief history of time whilst on a river boat cruising up the amazon, but that is paradoxically subtle, resonant as David Byrne once said.
The Thais are a wonderful race. I don’t mean that in a mealy mouthed post colonial way, I mean that in a way that is perhaps a little jealous of the phase they are going through. They believe that progress will bring them many things, not least the things they think they have and manage to completely ignore the parade of maladjusted westerners that are drawn to Thailand like iron filings to a magnet. They believe in love, many of the girls that hang onto the arms of us lost in our malaise actually believe they are in love, so who are we to point out the future to them. The lover feels love, the abuser abuse, it’s an age old theme that is only a part of the thing called kharma, best we are on the right side of that old chestnut.
I realised recently that I love cities. This wasn’t due to the romance of S.E.Asian cities but upon my return to London after a long break. I grew up amongst the smog filled concrete estates of Tottenham and learned to play there, the blocks of flats providing fun, not the adult rejection of it’s ugliness. To me Bankgkok is a progression, theÂ multilevelled walkways that remind me of Hong Kong, to me the perfect city with country parks a mere walk one of the most exciting examples of humans living in close proximity. To this end I prefer riding on the skytrain to escaping to floating markets, I am happy to people watch in sprawling shopping centres where the people all love to be watched.
But back to basics. I enjoyed a lovely meal earlier from a street stall outside one of the more impressive shopping centres of Som Tam. It’s a raw salad made from shredded papaya with garlic, tomatoes and dried shrimp. I let the lovely lady fill my bag with other goodies from the stall such as these Chineses style battered pieces that are great dipped in sauce, sausage thay can only be described as savaloy and chicken. I sat on a bench by the busy main road amongst young couples and tried to eat this feast without looking too much like the greedy English pig that I am, the Thais are a moderate race, they tend not to overindulge as much as this honky does. It was gorgeous.
And last but not least I enjoyed the latest Bond movie, Quantum of Solace at a swanky cinema. It was great – I feel like I should sign up for the secret service right now, surely their recent policy of allowing all comers includes Cyber Gypsies, I mean I’m sorted when it comes to the gadgets and am no stranger to air travel, sign me up boys.