Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Back in Bangkok

Back in Bangkok

I suddenly find myself sipping Singha beer at a shark's fin soup restaurant in Bangkok after two years of guzzling Bintang along the side-alleys of Jakarta. Even though I have been in Bangkok before on business trips, my last trip here was probably four or five years ago. Unlike many of my friends, I do not know Bangkok well at all. But at least I'm back on Jakarta time. (The timestamp on my blog is still Jakarta time)

On previous trips I have been too tied up with work to explore Bangkok like how I had explored Jakarta. I have never spent a weekend here before. I hope to change all that on this trip; I am already equipped with my trusty Lonely Planet Guide, which informs me that Bangkok's full name is:

Krungthep mahanakhon amonratanakosin mahintara ayuthaya mahadilok popnopparat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amoniman avatansathit sakkathattiya witsanukamprasit

I'm sure I made a typo there somewhere, but what this mouthful of a tongue twister means is:

"Great City of Angels, Repository of Divine Gems, Great Land Unconquerable, Grand and Prominent realm, Royal and Delightful Capital City Full of Nine Noble Gems, Highest Royal Dwelling and Grand Palace, Divine Shelter and Living Place of Reincarnated Spirits"!

The people who are paying my bills put me up at a disgustingly luxurious serviced apartment right in the middle of the business district. My stay this time will be longer and there are lots of work waiting for me. Since my enthusiasm for nightlife has severly diminished over the past two years, I do not mind working nights and weekends to complete my work.

All my friends are so fond of Bangkok; but I still do not have a sense of the city yet. Today I walked into the Bangkok office and hardly saw a familiar face. Right now Bangkok is a city of strangers to me but hopefully, I'll soon learn why this earthly paradise for men deserves such a lengthy and pompous name.

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