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Impressions of Bangkok, the city of life

Day One - Introductions
Stepping out of the air-conditioned airport I was immediately hit with the sweltering humidity and the heat of Bangkok. It choked my senses for a second and I had to get a hold of myself. I recognized the warmth of the sun as a familiarity and chose to enjoy that – I like the heat of the sun. The humidity factor is high in Bangkok – I had checked a two week forecast before I left and it was higher than 50% on all days. I headed towards a taxi and we loaded my luggage into it. The taxi driver could speak a little English and I couldn’t speak Thai. So we would use one word descriptions and repeat it a hundred times to describe what we wanted to describe. And the conversation ensued…. (Mr Samruay…the cab driver)Where from? (Me) Cape Town, South Africa. Aaah, South Africa, World Cup. Yes, world cup soccer, you watch? Yes, I watch many games, many games I watch. Very nice. You go holiday? No work. Work. Ooh, look, the president, lady. Hahahahahaha. Aah, she is everywhere. She look nice? Yes, wow you have a lady boss! Look look – you have nice ladies? Look our ladies. Here in Bangkok, nice lady nice lady you go bar tonight? No, tired, go work tomorrow, maybe other night Aah, good, yes many bar many bar close by. Yes I’ll go another night. Wow there’s lots of traffic here. And it’s Sunday. Back home we rest on Sundays, mostly. In Bangkok work all week, shops open all time. Oh, that’s hectic, you work too much. We go to church on Sundays. We pray and worship Jesus. You know Jesus? Mmmmm? We pray Buddha. Oh, Buddha. You know Jesus, Jesus Christ? Chreste? Aaah, yes Chreste! (We both laugh).  Look look my iphone. (He shows me an old Nokia phone, I burst out laughing). I like him and I think he likes me too - the conversation continues ...


We head through a couple of toll gates and I look at the city – it’s after 5pm – it’s getting dark and there is permanent cloud cover, it looks like a winters day in Cape Town but it’s very hot. Perhaps what you see is not what you get here in Bangkok. I have no other impressions of the city really, except that they must really like the President – there are billboards of her everywhere on the highway. I wonder what it must be like to have a female president, but the thought escapes me as I take in more sights of old versus modern versus dilapidated buildings.
We eventually get to the hotel – it’s a replica of the hotel I stayed in Mumbai – but it’s a different hotel group. The doorman greets me in the classic Thai fashion head bow with praying hands that I would grow accustomed to and use myself – “Sawasdee Krab”. I like the greeting; it’s respectful and bestows honour on the recipient. To me it feels like one is saying “I enjoy serving you”. I check in easily and head up to my room. The aircon is great, finally I’m home.  I update twitter and facebook and get ready for my first day of work. 

The street of the hotel where I stayed
The street of the hotel where I stayed.

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