06.06.2012 35 °C
It's our last night in Bangkok tonight. It's a funny place this city. You'll see absolute poverty right next to a five star hotel. Yet everyone seems to get on pretty well together. We took a boat up and down the Chao Phraya river this afternoon in the sweltering heat and we passed by absolute slums that were situated just a stones throw from gilded palaces. Anywhere else in the world and they'd probably be bulldozed. The juxtsposition of rich and poor manifests itself in things like the Bangkok Sky Train (BST). You just don't ever see poor folk on it. However, as you ride in its air conditioned luxury you can look down on the hoi polloi below. Another unusual thing is the pictures of the king and his wife staring down from lots of buildings. Weird and disconcerting stuff.
Another thing that surprised me was how Western influenced the place is, you can't move anywhere without being bombarded by advertising: in the train, in the station, walking down the road,it's omnipresent. Everyone seems to be chatting into their I-phone or some other gadget. By everyone, I mean those who are not poor.
We head for Chiang Mai tomorrow but we'll be back this way again in two months time. I'm already looking forward to returning. Despite the openly seedy element to the city it's a really nice place. The kids don't appear to notice that side of things though, they're too busy stepping over cock-roaches and rats to ask any hard questions.