24 September 2007

Inaugural Post

So I’ve been in Bangkok for just about three weeks now, which is a while to be here without producing the promised and prized first blog.

My excuse is that I’ve been trying to come up with a good blog title (not to mention the perfectly witty and clever first blog entry. No joy there). I solicited and received a number of excellent, punny, or vaguely inappropriate (but very tempting) suggestions for titles.

Then I grew tired of thinking about it.

Years from now they will describe this time as my Bangkok Period. Or, if you prefer its full name,

Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

Translated: "The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukam.”

It’s also known as the City of Angels, the Big Mango, Venice of the East, and so on. But you can call it Bangkok, which roughly translates to the very prosaic “Village of hog-plums.”

That’s a lot for any city to live up to, but if any city can, it’s Bangkok. Local writer S. Tsow describes Bangkok as teeming with “the kaleidoscopic variety of this seething microcosm of life’s rich pageant.” Having been thrown for many loops after three weeks in this city, I have to agree.

BK is a stunning study in contrasts. The heat is oppressively hot, settling onto the skin like a heavy cloak. When the heavens suddenly open with monsoon rains, cool winds whip around the skyscrapers and drive water through the open spaces.

Motorcycles, tuk-tuks, and buses with wood-panelled floors vie for scarce space with BMWs and SUVs. The smell of sizzling meat in the stalls, foetid water in the khlongs, and flowering plants rise up and drift away one after the other. Homeless beings - cats, dogs, humans - curl up at night on the overhead walkways above busy streets of drivers headed home from the office. Members dine poolside at the Royal Polo club, a few hundred metres from the stable, while just as good (if not better) food is found exponentially cheaper in the bustling stalls clustered on every sidewalk (which aren't for walking on, anyway).

By night, a robot watches me sleep.

And then there’s me, one sweaty farang trying to get used to it all. More to come.

*btw: if anyone knows how to caption photos, do let me know. If anyone knows how to lay the damn things out in less than an hour, also let me know.


dean fortin said...

Hi Dea - glad to see that all is well in the far east. Great inital blog entry!!

Hope job is going well.

life here slogs on, while you are world traveler!! Keep sending messages!!


mayette said...

Hello doll!

I don't know what you were worried about - your first blog entry is a study in prose. Now you just have to live up to it with the entries that follow :)

I may be in the Philippines in January. If that is the case, I shall try and hop the pond to visit you. Looking forward to reading about your adventures!


Anonymous said...

Dea, you should be a writer!

It sounds like you're having a very unique experience!

What is this robot?

Hope you are having a fantastic time!

Christine Lenis.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dea,

Nice to hear from you. Sounds wonderful. I hope you don't suffer too much with posting the pictures, I really enjoy them! I will visit Bankok vicariously thru your entries.


Anonymous said...

Dea, this is great. As I slave away in a concrete bunker all fall/winter, I will be able to follow your much more exciting and sunnier life!

(note: please lead an exciting life over the next four months so I can live through it vicariously)

Take care,

Ian said...

I have never been to Bankok, but the city looks like an amazig cross between New York and Calcutta.

I hope your experience brings more lightness and flow into your life.

Warmly, Ian

Schwa said...

Hurrah! Looks good Dea! Not sure about the captioning, will have to poke around a bit on here sometime. I have a blog too, I haven't done much with it yet though.

Kylie said...

Dea, what a great first entry... it brings back memories. I look forward to reading more.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dea
Very stylish. Oh how I love Bangkok. Hopefully I'll be able to do some vicarious living through your writing! Good start!

Sarah Fin-Spali

ps: i hope this works...all the blogger info is auf Deutsch on my screen!

Mitch said...

Hey Dea

Greg here, from UBC... Looking forward to reading more!

How's Bankok treating you so far?