Victory Monument and Saxophone

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Victory Monument

Tonight I checked out the area around Victory Monument.  The monument is a large obelisk-like memorial to Thais who gave their lives in service of their country.  The obelisk is composed of 5 bayonets put together and there is a statue of a service member in front of each side.

 

The monument was built to celebrate a victory over the French colonial authorities in the early 1940-41 which allowed Thailand to re-claim some territory that it believed to be rightfully part of Thailand.  The victory was somewhat hollow however, as the Japanese had essentially forced a settlement upon both Thailand and France in order to avoid a war which might disrupt their own plans in the region.

Victory Monument...at night
 Despite this, the Prime Minister, eager to instill a large sense of nationalism commissioned the monument.  It became even hollower when the allied victory in WWII forced Thailand to cede the territory it had gained and return it to France since Thailand had sided with the Japanese in order to avoid a war when Japan was on the verge of invading.  Today, the territories are a part of Cambodia.

 

The monument sits in the middle of a large traffic circle, and even the sky train is diverted around it.  Around the edges of the busy streets are numerous stalls and stands selling a variety of clothing, food, and knock-offs.  I walked around for a while and stumbled upon the King Power Duty-Free Mall.  This large glass building is essentially a huge, off-site, airport duty-free shop.  When I went inside they asked me for my return flight information, which I obviously didn’t have on me, so they looked it up and gave me a card with  my information on it.  Then I was directed to an escalator which took me to the second floor which was filled with high end shops, which in typical duty-free fashion, all cost more than the identical shops located in other malls in Bangkok.  The only exception, which is also almost always the case, was alcohol which was significantly less expensive.  

 

As an aside, I have never quite understood why this is.  Alcohol is generally subject to so called “sin-taxes” which is why it makes sense that they would be much less expensive in a true duty free shop, but why is everything else more expensive?  I know that in Thailand, luxury items are subject to a 15% import tax, so why aren’t Burberry Coats, Ferragamo Shoes, and Rolex Watches less expensive in duty free shops?  Even accounting for some extra profit taking shouldn’t they still be 5-10% less than in a regular mall?  Anyway, back to my Saturday.

 

After walking around the mall and looking at all of things I cannot afford at the regular mall, much less the duty-free one, I went to meet John for dinner.  I considered buying a bottle of the cheap alcohol, but then I found out that you can’t actually pick up the goods until you are at the airport, which is why it is duty free.

 

John and I walked around for a while and then settled on a restaurant called “Seasoning.”  We ordered three dishes to share: beef with fried clear noodles, spicy pork and lime salad, and Seasoning’s special fried rice (which had shrimp, chicken, and egg).  All of the dishes were delicious.  The pork salad had some serious kick to it, but the lime added a nice contrasting flavor.  

 

After dinner, we headed for a bar called “Saxophone,” a two story Jazz and Blues Bar, located next to Victory Monument and has been a Bangkok favorite since it opened 20 years ago.  Much bigger than last week's jazz bar, Brown Sugar, Saxophone has a more upscale feel, though you wouldn’t know it from the outside.  Inside, there is a center stage, where the band was playing Blues Classics, and there are tables around the outside walls.  They serve food, but since we had just eaten we ordered a couple beers and enjoyed the atmosphere.  After a couple beers and lots of good music, we called it a night and I headed back to my apartment.   

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Victory Monument
Victory Monument
Victory Monument...at night
Victory Monument...at night
Bangkok
photo by: Deats