Return to Bangkok II - A shoppers paradise = Made in Thailand
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 5 of 19 › view all entries
Made in Thailand you see that tag everywhere, on your shirt, shoes, pants, whatever. You name it, and it is made in South East Asia. With Thailand being the economic power of the region, and it is very easy to see the Thai as a consumerist mall culture. There are many malls (and even more markets that sell the bootlegged version....yeah!) and many Thais just shopping and shopping. Malls are always interesting to see in developing countries because they can be a way for the upper middle to high class to flaunt a western style.
The Dutch are my new favorite people to travel with. I have always met a good number whenever I travel and appreciate the cultures humility, intelligence, outwardness, and the ability to throw a few cold ones back over a few laughs. Plus they have Amsterdam (just kidding).
Before you read this next part, understand that this is Bangkok, and this is what Farangs and regulars go and see.The whole place can be viewed as a circus.
I got to know the city of Bangkok quite well,as I spent too much time there. I was able to get a semi-insiders guide from the guys in Jiu-Jitsu class. They gave me a few lines of advice and places to see. They think that too many people believe that Thailand is Patpong (you will hear about it later), Phucket (to which I said fuck it, I ain't going there), and Pattaya (the place where farangs take there mail order wives). I took their advice and explored the city through its ferries, sky train, tuk tuks, and taxis. I went to markets and malls, ate Pad Thai, and soups and bugs. So through everything, when my friend Reid Bitzer arrived, I felt like I could give him a good tour in the 24 hours he had in Bangkok. We rev-ed up the Batmobile, and off we were on a wild tour of a wild city. We watched some muy Thai boxing at the Ratchdam stadium (I lost $6 on bets with in the crowd). The heaviest weight class that I saw fight was about 130 pounds. I really am a big dude in these parts. We next went to the neighborhood of Patpong. The most famous red light district in Bangkok. It has a circus atmosphere, with a giant market outside. That is where the hustlers approach advertising the "ping pong shows." They have a list of about 40 things that girls do with their baby making material. It is a crazy city, and this is part of it. We pay our fee, and enter to watch girls blow out candles, dance with sparklers, unwrap ticker tape, and hopefully shoot ping pongs out of their you know what. We were flabbergasted and entertained. There were many other farang in the room with their jaws dropped in amazement. And then it happened. We were not tipping enough. The girl on the stage was upset, she moved over towards us, and started to aim her cannon. I attempted to hide underneath the table, Reid grabbed a prostitute (she was not a "ladyboy") and used her as a shield. Now remember, this is a professional, little did I know that I was dealing with the John Elway of the Patpong area. The cannon fired, my life flashed before my eyes, a banana was launched with such velocity and force that as it twisted and spiraled it made that noise "fith...fith...fith." I let out a screech of "nnnnnnnnooooooooooo," and then it hit me, in my lower right rib. I was just happy that it was not a squishy banana that could of shot shrapnel and caused collateral damage. We gave a decent tip and left. We jumped on the skytrain, passed the Siam super mall, and it was now on to Soi Cowboy. A guy in my Jiu Jitsu said that was the neighborhood that he goes out in. I thought he was fucking with me. I asked others in the class about it, and they said that that is Bangkok, it is a crazy city. This is the place where all of the off duty soldiers in the Vietnam War would go to. Nothing to eventful, I ate some bugs from street vendor. We jumped back on the skytrain, and headed to the Victory Monument stop, supposedly close to a university for a different atmosphere. We entered a jazz bar, and met some tall ass white dude that was in the NBA. We head back to the other circus, Khao San Road. Known as the backpackers ghetto, I prefer to call it Disney World for 19 year olds. Think Cancun, Mexico. There are many Euros getting ready for the "full moon party" in southern Thailand. It sounds like a European version of wet T-Shirt contest. Aside from the Cobra show, I gave Reid a good tour.
Stay tuned, upcoming in the next episode....Laos for trekking, bike riding, kayaking, and such. Hanging with a chief of the Akhas, and a much more tranquil/relaxed pace. Now in Cambodia and about to see another wonder of the world, Angkor Wat.
Peace and Hairgrease, hopefully I did not offend any of you,