Detour: Bangkok, Thailand

Commuters waiting for Bangkok ferry boatsI’m in Bangkok, Thailand right now. Sort of wish I had defied my grandpa & stayed in Hong Kong for the revolution. But I’ll be back in HK in a few days. And it is pleasant to be here to discover this city’s pleasures.. while reflecting on larger pictures alone.. and to see that when I have time again, there’s the countryside to explore. Pleasures ahead for another time.
I just tuned in to the fact that I’ve been an hour early for over 24 hours; Hong Kong is ahead of Bangkok by 60 minutes. For some reason my phone didn’t update its clock. So now I’ve an extra hour. So now I’m writing a few lines – updating the blog, FINALLY. (Only have about 6 posts to catch up on… So much has happened.)
Yesterday I took a commuter boat up the river to visit old Bangkok – yes, I stopped in Khao San Road – went to a little park to the left (upriver) of the ferry stop, lay down & listened for a while: school children drawing their lessons, boats & traffic never ending, trees swaying overhead.
All day I ate street food. Mmmmmm.
  • bright papaya all cut up in a bag for you
  • spicy salad hand-mixed with herbs pounded in front of you with pestle & mortar
  • charcoal-grilled chicken leg
  • fresh young coconut on ice
  • little crepe-like dessert with coconut & sugar filling ( fits in palm of your hand rather beautifully )
At night, after a 2-hour Thai massage, in which this wonderful young woman cracked my back like a book binding – left & right & arched in reverse – all for something like $20 dollars (& this was an ‘expensive’ place), I had some crazy spicy shrimp with veritable mounds of green chills atop their split-open bellies.
I blew my nose for about 20 minutes. Using single-ply pink toilet paper.
Navigating the city alone was perilous — crossing traffic without traffic lights (at least they drive on the right side of the road), young backpacking boys who want to say hi grab a drink, getting lost & having to fake looking confident so the swindlers don’t pick up your scent.
I was at the ferry docks & the young man thought I’d embarked so he whistled the signal to move on without noticing I hadn’t, actually, so I had to leap on to the boat (to his great horror) & then everywhere I went I saw signs saying ‘ practice safe boating ‘ or something like that.
Bangkok is bright & colourful in parts – temples, flowers, fruits, smiles.. Meanwhile a great deal is what one might call dirty, grey-brown, run-down, dusty, impoverished.. The discrepancy between the postcard images & what I see, what one sees, in the streets & from the river is – marked. This is to be expected (orientalism never died; tourism is a great economic driver) and yet why not resist? Resist accepting the discrepancies, the rift, the difference and indifference.
Today there’s some big weekend market, everyone says I must go.
I have some writing I want to do about the Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution.
I can smell the flowers I was gifted at the local Buddhist temple.
I wish Time were more elastic & multiple ..stretch this, bring that, leap ahead, return..
I wish the Australian government hadn’t put out that horrifying ad. I’ve still writing to do about my time place space there[Here’s one piece, so far.]
That’s it for now. My throat is a little swollen; gots to go find me some medicaments.

One response to “Detour: Bangkok, Thailand

  1. Pingback: Cocoons & Constellations | Helen Yung·

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