I arrived in Bangkok late in the afternoon, the sky had already grown dark but the heat of the day was still palpable. Like every city you can spot the odd homeless person asleep on shop entrances, but in Bangkok it is so warm at night he is wearing shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops! I took an air-conditioned taxi from the Suvarnabhumi airport to China town. It took over an hour to reach my guest house through the worst traffic I had probably ever seen. From what I could gather there seemed to be four lanes of traffic and no one seemed to have any idea what lane they were supposed to be in. Not that it mattered, I witnessed no stress from my driver, and believe me I was watching him closely in wonder, or aggression from the other drivers. In fact no road rage at all. On Bangkok roads, as elsewhere in Asia I was soon to discover, what will be, will be.
My ridiculously luxurious room at the guesthouse had a bath in the middle of the room big enough to fit four people comfortably, and a bed big enough to fit ten at least!
There was ten in the bed and the little one said…
But I was here to work, so after a quick shower (in a space as big as my spare room at home) I ventured outside eager to get my first experience of Bangkok.
Bangkok is a city of extremes; it is not just hot its bloody hot, it’s not just load and energetic the energy climbs into your soul and stays there, it’s not just dirty the air is so polluted many people have resorted to wearing masks. Electrical cables and gory billboards dominate the skyline, like a depressing glimpse of a sci-fi future. Bladerunner maybe, if it ever rained. Bangkok’s cables are a techy’s nightmare, and yet another example of something taken to its extreme in Bangkok.
But after my first meal in Bangkok, sitting on a crowded street corner being served food from a barbecue by pointing to the desired pictures on the menu, saves all the sticky language barriers and makes sure the baht is handed over quicker, I came to realise that Bangkok is like Marmite. Wait, I am going somewhere with this, honest! As a city of extremes Bangkok is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, and I love it.