And Then There’s Bangkok

I couldn’t leave SE Asia behind without saying something about Bangkok. What is the appeal of this city? After all it is enormous; millions and millions live here. There is some of the worst gridlock on the planet, the air is polluted, and especially in April it is hot and steamy. Nevertheless, there is something attractive about it. Perhaps it’s the peacefulness of so many of the people, the absence of horns among all this traffic, or the neighbourhoods that seem like small towns with their street vendors and local people outdoors visiting with one another. There is the tolerance of stray dogs, of bad driving, and of a very visible bar girl scene. Of course, in such a tropical place, so much takes place outdoors but at the same time it is a modern city. On this trip we discovered, by mistake, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, an ultra-modern piece of architecture equal to any of its kind in the world. Whatever it is, there is a sense of arriving home when I arrive in Bangkok although I haven’t spent all that much time in this city. I don’t have an explanation.