“Bangkok, oriental city….and the city don’t know what the city is getting” (Murray Head–One Night In Bangkok; 1984)
I think that this might have been the first time that I had heard of the city of Bangkok. It was 1984 and I was just a young kid living in the suburbs of Seattle. It was a cool song, but I thought nothing of it. Just some catchy tune about playing chess somewhere overseas. I must admit though, those flutes near the end of the song kinda gave me goosebumps….
Flash forward 16 years
A view from outside of Pon’s apartment building
Dateline Bangkok, Mid-March of 2000
A typical sight after the financial collapse
That previous photo is typical of what happened after the financial collapse of Thailand back in the late 1990s. Lots of highrise buildings were left unfinished. A myriad still unfinished to this day in 2005 (I can’t remember which BTS platform it is; but on one of them you can see a partially completed skyrise just opposite you. All sorts of graffiti decorates the interior of that concrete husk).
Anyways, I got off the Eva Airways plane at Don Meuang in March of 2000. Being a Navy boy, I had traveled all about our blue orb. I had not, however, been to any place so exotic as Bangkok, Thailand at the onset of hot season. Folks, I would like to sit here and tell you that I was a well-seasoned traveler; but holy cow!….was Bangkok on another planet!?
Some typical Bangkok craziness
My girlfriend at the time, Jum, steered me about in my culture-shock-induced zombie state. I grabbed my luggage and followed her towards the sliding doors that led to the taxi stand. Ohh-ohhh-uh? Ummm….what the..? Did you see all those people..? and all those taxis waiting for the people..? (take my advice, friends..and, shhhh, keep it to yourselves. Ready? When you get your luggage..take the elevator up to the next floor. The taxis are dropping people off and they aren’t queued up in a line. They aren’t supposed to accept riders (so I’ve heard), but you’ll never wait for a taxi at the airport again).
At the time, I didn’t know about that cool little trick (probably now obsolete with the new airport and all), and neither, evidentally did Jum. We stood in that taxi stand for while and then got our taxi. We went for a very long ride to Bahngapi, where her grandma had a house (no A/C).
Looking back on it all, keeping in mind that it was my first trip to Thailand, I had a very good time (obviously, as I have kept coming back).
Could I have done things better? Of course I could have, which is why I keep coming back. I need to perfect my holiday! 🙂