Saturday, February 28, 2004

Everyone's Favourite City

Everyone's Favourite City

Feeling very tired after 3 straight days of waking up very early. But it has been a productive three days. I now look forward to an even more productive weekend.

Been dining gluttonously in Bangkok. It was pleasant to relax with some nice shark's fin or Tom Yam soup, washed down with Singha beer after a hard day's work. However my mind is too over-burdened with work to contemplate any adventures in the city. I hardly strayed beyond the street where my apartment is located.

The Thais, like the Indonesians and the Filipinos are a friendly lot. They speak with that melodious lilt, which after a while becomes rather endearing, and even contagious. One can easily detect a lot of Chinese words in the Thai language; in fact, it sounds rather like a provincial Chinese dialect.

Unfortunately I've not bothered to master even a bit of the local language yet. Language is a problem here, especially when communicating with the taxi drivers. Taxis that use the meter here carry signs that proclaim themselves almost with pride: "TAXI-METER". Obviously there are still a lot of taxis that do not use meters, but I have not seen any so far in the city.

On my previous business trips here, I stayed at the Regent Bangkok ( now renamed Four Seasons Bangkok--my personal favourite in the region) and the Hyatt Erawan--both in the business and shopping district. My present place of lodging is located around the same area. Trapped in this yuppified Mat Salleh/farang/bule/gweilou-haunted place, I long to check out some the grubbier side of Bangkok.

To many, the grubby side means the massage parlours and girlie bars scattered all over the city. The popular ones have become prominent landmarks of the city and it is convenient to know their location so that you can tell the taxi drivers where your actual destination is in relation to them. When I mentioned my customer's office, IFCT Tower to the driver this morning, he stared blankly at me; but when I told him that it's opposite Mona Lisa Massage Parlour, his face immediately beamed in recognition.

My friends will be thinking that I'm having such a wonderful time here in Bangkok. The reality is, I'm stuck with so much work that I don't think I'll have the inclination to do any exploration. I did mention in a previous blog entry before that Bangkok is not one of my favourite places; but I don't think anyone will believe me :-)

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