The Ultimate guide to
The Ultimate guide to
Just lately I`ve been reading a book which my friend Gill had bought to read for herself. I sort of borrowed it to get a glimpse of what life is like for a middle aged guy who decides to settle in South East Asia for any length of time. I now know I should avoid a lengthy stay in Bangkok, the Thai capitol, because I don`t want to be labled what the Thai`s call a 'farang' and I don`t want to get sucked into a Bangkok way of life.
Like many of the worlds large capitol cities, it is a hotchpotch of different cultures. But Bangkok, it seems, was heavily influenced by the west as it was a strategic point for the US military during the Vietnam war. Thai girls having a good time with US soldiers springs to mind. Just like they did in some of our English towns during WWII. However, I have the impression of what some would describe as a 'tacky' place, although that description depends of course on the individuals point of view.
The book, Bangkok Days, first published in 2009, is by Lawrence Osborne, a journalist and writer from England who describes his daily life in the city. A city of beautiful Thai ladies and a city of immense sexual freedom. A city full of pick up bars with suggestive names. But I`m sure there is more to it than that. I havn`t come across any references to them yet but it wouldn`t surprise me if the lady boy phenomenon were mentioned before I reach the end of the book. I`ve got about 80 pages left to read though.
What I do know is that, being a sucker for pretty women, a hot blooded male and a flirty sort of guy, I probably wouldn't last long in such a tempting place. And my goodness there are a lot of pretty women in Bangkok. Just as well I don`t plan to stay in the city. I`ve had many offers from non profit and charitable projects throughout South East Asia to join them and in the next few weeks I`ll be finalising my itinerary. Most likely I will take a flight direct to Bangkok to start my adventure. It`s pretty central to where I want to go and the flights appear slightly cheaper than to neighbouring countries. And I do want to explore Thailand. However, I don`t plan to stay in the capitol city.
From the airport to the bus or train station and then immediately on to a nominated project in smaller town or city, perhaps even to a rural area or maybe even on to a neighbouring country such as Cambodia, Laos or South to Malaysia where I have friends already expecting me in the new year. I also have projects in Nepal, between Northern India and Southern China to consider too.
Then again I have to admit that I am a little intrigued. Maybe I`ll visit Bangkok for a longer stay at some point along my journey. But I`ll make sure it`s only for a few days, a week at most.
And I`ll also remember the quote which heads the fist chapter of Lawrence`s book ...
All lust is grief.
- Buddhist proverb.
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