Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Busy in Bangkok!

Bangkok - the modern monochrome city. I don't think it was just the contrast from the highly coloured India. Seriously the vast majority of people were in black and white or similar dulcet tones. And the legs.........now that is a reaction to India. Micro mini skirts, tinsy winsy dresses and cheeky shorts...all very tasteful but so short!!!

This was the first major Asian city I have visited outside India. Population of Bangkok 6.335 million, Bangalore 4.3 million. And boy what a difference! No pot holes, way less trash, smooth roads, public transport that connects and is scarily efficient, street food you can not only smell but can eat whatever, wherever.........Bangalore - what is your problem????

However Bangkok has a hugely divided society the 'hi-so' (high-society) set we saw in central Bangkok of pretty people, with milky white skin, twinkling jewels, designer clothes, auburn rinses and speaking school learnt English, an electronic device in each hand. At the Siam Paragon Mall we went into in a Lamborgini show room with a yellow merchilago and a black aventador (had to steal that information from Ads Facebook status!!) However the inequality stats are scarily close to those in the US, wealthiest 20% own more than 85% of the wealth, lowest 50% own 3 or 4%.

We stayed in a wonderful apartment on Asoke - less than 5 minutes walk to the sky train. Modern apartment with all we needed on 35h floor with views over the city. We all loved Bangkok - the kids when asked which they preferred Cha Am or Bangkok - voted Bangkok without hesitation. Getting around was so easy, the food so good and so much variety -maybe we'd overdone the seafood in Cha Am.

We did quite a bit of Mall walking and shopping but also explored the old parts of Bangkok by boat. The public river boat was just as efficient as the sky train. The first stop was the Grand Palace - which was very Grand - an orgy of gold, spires, paintings - total opulence!

The size of the palace, number of buildings and the perfect condition everything was in, was quite incredible. The Thais are very fond of their Royal family and picture of the King and Queen pop up everywhere. The powers of the King are these days purely symbolic but he still attracts the respect and reverence of the Thai people.

However their political premiers don't always attract the same. While we were in Bangkok the politicians and lawmakers approved a draft amnesty bill which would allow the previously exiled premier back in. The protest marches were busy, noisy but peaceful.

 A busy day before returning to our apartment to relax and enjoy the view.........

before another busy day on Bangkok!

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