Saturday, December 14, 2013

Blistering Bangkok: Is That the Devil Walking Next to Me?

Someone recently told me (and he wasn't the first person to do so) that his love -- or hate -- for any given city depends on the people who populate it. Fair enough: A cranky citizenry would rank right up there with bad Wi-Fi among things that might ensure I never want to return to an otherwise perfectly fine city. That said, though, the coolest people on earth won't necessarily make me want to stay there either. For me, it's all about the way the city makes me feel, especially when I'm gone.

By that standard, Bangkok would definitely rank as one of my favorite places on earth. I spent 17 months based there on and off between July of 2011 and July of 2013, and I'm still not over it. Since I last left Bangkok, I've touched down in some of the most spectacular cities on the planet -- Berlin, Rome, Tel Aviv -- and although Cape Town will be home for the foreseeable future, if someone were to tell me tomorrow that I have to return to Bangkok, I'd pack my bags with a smile on my face. Anantara Bangkok Sathorn, here I come -- again!

I tried to capture the Bangkok experience in a feature I did for the current issue of Australia's Box Magazine, but it was so difficult to do in a mere 1,500 words.

Bangkok: Over the years, pop culture has targeted few, if any, cities with attempted character assassination quite as vigorously as it has taken aim at Thailand’s capital. Chess lyricists Björn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice painted it black in ‘One Night in Bangkok’, Murray Head’s mid-‘80s hit from the stage musical. It spun a controversial portrait of an international den of iniquity, where sex and ‘queens’ (not the chessboard variety) trumped kings and Buddha for Thai supremacy.... (Click here to read the rest of the story....)
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