Josh Greenspan: The Last Word on Bangkok

Bangkok, October 30

Bangkok.  Unique.  Head throbbingly vibrant.  Standstill traffic twelve hours a day, hundreds of motos and tuk-tuks fighting for that last inch of space to squeeze by.  Pretty girls sitting side-saddle on motos, their feet just missing a car, a food stall or me.  And then the rain.  If Tokyo rains sideways, Bangkok pays no attention.  It just rains straight down in long neverending sheets broken only by the all-too-close clap of thunder and sliver-thin bolts of lightning.  The city simply moves, undulating.  Nothing fancy, certainly nothing organized.  The people move around … or they don’t.  They cook anywhere and everywhere and eat in just about the same fashion.  Nearly every street is a no-name street and where yesterday there was a food stall, today there is a t-shirt vendor or a streetside mechanic, all bathed in the harsh white-blue glow of flourescent tubes.  Boats fill the river and with no median to separate them, they glide in every direction.  Fast boats, longtails with oily black-brown clouds trailing them.  Boats with peaked rooves bearing the flag of a fancy hotel.  Water buses, the ticket woman shaking her silver change tubes making sure everyone pays the 30 cent fare.

Dorie Greenspan

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