Friday, 27 February 2009

Wonder Girls and Dancing Queens

It is very hot and humid in Bangkok at the moment, it's almost too uncomfortable.

Coming from Kolkata, Bangkok seems like a different planet, actually more a different universe.

It is a universe of broad highways with no pot holes, with working traffic lights. I remember thinking in the past that the air here was dirty, a layer of smog seemed to cover the city then, but either it's no longer the case or compared to Kolkata it just feels suddenly cleaner.

I have come to realise that Bangkok is very underrated. People fly into its airport and then head down to the islands or up to Chang Mai or at most spend a day visiting the Grand Palace and all the nearby temples. In the last two days I have walked around the town, just enjoying its buzz, the street life.

The people here don't seem to have a home, they all eat out at the million street stalls, or just sit outside chatting away, watching their children play. You can even get your clothes mended, or as in my case your bag, by ladies that sit on the sidewalk with their sowing machine...

I did visit the Grand Palace, even though I'd been there only in October. It is the holiest site in Thailand, the home of the Emerald Buddha. I asked the Buddha to look after one of my friend's mother as she is going into hospital in the next few days.

In some parts the Palace feels like a Toy City, like a very odd Legoland...

I took the rest of the morning to walk around the different temples, and also had a look at the Ramayana murals. A collection that extends over a kilometre and depicts the life of Buddha. I overheard one of the guides explaining the story of the King Monkey, and saying that to protect the city it puts it inside it's mouth. I am sure i missunderstood half of what I heard, but I love the mural itself.

Around the temples there are large vases filled with water and flowers. People dip lotus buds in the water for good luck, and this lotus flower had opened up.

The whole place is extraordinary, an explosion of colour and light, and lots and lots of people.

Are there any Japanese left in Japan or were they all in Bangkok's Grand Palace today?

I have started to meet people while I am travelling alone. Lara, the mad Korean chick as I call her, has been travelling for four years and is a well of cheap travel knowledge. I will probably see her again in Laos.

I also met a Swedish guy, Matti, who, was explaining to me over several cheap Thai beers that in Sweden they teach you knitting in school...either it was the heat or the beer but for a while I thought, yes, now I finally understood where ABBA came from, what 'Dancing Queen' was all about...

I have also discovered what the big thing in Thailand is at the moment...Wonder Girls! Don't know who the hell they are, but good God they look camp...

And I experienced first hand the hysteria they awake in people. They were doing a press conference by one of the main shopping malls in town and hundreds of people were packing the streets. I didn't stay to see the girls. They weren't due til 7 and this was the scene at 3, with 4 hours still to go. I couldn't face the screaming that was going to come later.

Here's what all the fuss is about...

Off to Chang Mai to cross over to Laos, so another night sleeping on a train...


  1. wicked...the far east's version of the pussy cat dolls. entertainment at it's finest!!!

  2. I would say more like girls aloud....