Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The Land of Smiles and Home Again
Well gang I am happy to report I made it back home to the states safe and sound from my travels in Asia. I first went to Okinawa, Japan and found the people to be very courteous and friendly. The food was great and the Saki even better. I did get see a few of the sights while I was there but mostly worked. I enjoyed the visit however.
I next traveled from Japan to the "Land of Smiles" Bangkok, Thailand. If Okinawa is slow and relaxed, which it is, then Bangkok is just the opposite. It is a very fast, crowded, hot, dirty, unique, mysterious, polluted, fascinating city. I thought our traffic was bad here in the DC area, Bangkok is much worst. There is close to over 6 million people in the city alone. Throngs of people, cars and gangs of scooters and motorcycles.
If you have heard the song "One Night in Bangkok" from the musical "Chess" then it's all true. "One night in Bangkok and the worlds your oyster". The economy is very poor and there is a good deal of corruption and crime here. It is a tourist town and pretty safe but anything goes if you have the money, and in Bangkok a little money goes a long way. I saw our cab driver have to bribe a cop, in which the cabby didn't do anything wrong. The cop was just looking to make some cash, and he did. You can get custom tailored clothes in Bangkok very affordable ( I had a few jackets and shirts made) you can get an hour massage for about $30 (and I got one of those too, but be careful, even in a clean reputable looking place you could be propositioned for a "special message".. I was taken by surprise).
One thing I will say is that the service in bangkok is excellent. such as in good bars and resturants. Unlike here in the US we are lucky to find our waiter sometimes in bangkok you are waited on by a large staff and they are very good at what they do. Very good service and customer courtesy.
You can go see the Grand Palace tour, which I did.. Very beautiful, and then there is shopping shopping and shopping in Bangkok. I did a bit but was soon wore out.
I went to the "weekend market" in Chatuchak and that was an experience. It's more or less a fleamarket on steroids, in which there or what seems miles and miles of shops all crammed together to form a myriad maze of stores and throngs of sweaty bodies all packed together in the hot humid Bangkok climate. I must have lost about 5 lbs. In sweat at Chatuchak. I got some great deals and everyone haggles.. It's expected and half the fun. One of the things I enjoyed were the signs posted in the market that said "Beware of Pick Pockets".
And if you go to Bangkok you have to go to the redlight district called Patpong. It's a world I have never seen before and disconcerting. Anything goes and again here there is more shopping, drinking and gogo bars. It's still a tourist area and something to experience. I had one drink there and was done.
Bangkok would be a great place to shoot a film. It would be very affordable, other then flying in your western crew & talent, and the area offers some remarkable locations. It would have a lot to offer for a unique film and like I said it would be cheap on the budget there and you could get some stunning shots and setups. I could so see a great action film while touring the city.
But I am back home and glad to be here. To travel the world some and see some sights is excellent and it really makes you appreciate what you have here at home and makes you think just what you take for granted. Other countries and people are not doing so well and really have it hard. It makes me humble to think of what we have and what so many go without and the life they are forced to live. Be fortunate and thankful with what you have.