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Published: November 16th 2011
We made a 2 day stop in Bangkok before heading to Australia. I was expecting chaos and disorder following the floods, but I can’t see anything of the sort! To be honest, we were in Silom which is a central area, and I guess this part has been especially protected. One thing is for sure; Thai people are working hard to keep things up and running: restaurants are open, night markets are full of people (not many foreigners I admit) and the night we go out for dinner, and almost nothing reminds us of the terrible situation the country has been facing. I say almost, because most buildings in the area display signs of the catastrophe: rows of sand bags piled on the base of facades, are an attempt to protect businesses and houses from the floods. We read in the newspapers that people are destroying barriers in other parts of the city to get rid of the water, which could end up flooding central Bangkok. However, people like our taxi driver friend Danny, tell us it’s all ending in a week. Apparently waters are receding, it’s a beautiful sunny day, and we certainly have not encountered any problems during our visit (except the fact the ferries were not working but hey, that’s not so bad!). We visited the Grand Palace (meeting taxi driver Danny on the way there) and encountered many foreigners at this touristy spot. Some hope for Thais, who are struggling with the recent lack of visitors to the capital. The Grand Palace is home to the Imperial family, to the very much loved King (there are pictures of him everywhere you go in this country, he is obviously very admired and respected) and I really enjoy the group of 18th century temples next to the Palace. It is amazing to be able to observe and compare different architectures in the course of these months: first Japan, then China, now Thailand. Certainly each culture has its own style and although very different, I would not say they’re opposites. Asian architecture has in common its use of colour. These buildings are decorated with glazed or painted tiles, displaying the most varied and unique combination of colours and patterns I have ever seen! It reminds me, in its own way, of Beijing’s Summer Palace and its magical friezes decorated in bright blue, green, red and gold. The main difference is roofs, on their design and decoration. Thai ones rise towards the sky in a similar way (multiple layers one of top of the other) but what especially stands out are the pointed tops; reminding slightly of Gothic steeples. Back in the car, Danny tells us we are the only job he’s had all day. Things are not looking good for people depending on tourists, like him. He’s an extremely nice man; he tells us most taxi drivers in town had no access to education (including him, he attended school for just 3 years) and so they have problems finding a job. He speaks great English thanks to his mother, who worked at an American base, listening to Dolly Parton and Frank Sinatra songs. Danny loves these and sings for us, a very surrealist but special moment whilst travelling in his car through the streets of Bangkok. The highlight of these 2 days was certainly dinner at Vertigo roof-top restaurant, which has terrific views. This restaurant is on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree hotel. You can literally see the entire city from up there, but I do not recommend it if you suffer from vertigo!!! – I am not someone who suffers from this sort of fear; however on this occasion it was difficult not to feel a bit dizzy. Unbelievable height! And a hard task it was to concentrate on my soup thinking we were literally 2 steps away from a scary free-fall. ‘What if there is an earthquake?’ asks M. ‘Better not to think about it’ I reply, and focus on the horizon, as if sailing on a rocking boat. With this we say goodbye to Bangkok and board a 9 hour flight to Sydney.
More from there! Thanks for reading and love:
B & M xxx
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