Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yeas and Nays

Bangkok by nightBangkok by nightYou see all my complaining is in your interest. I am trying to dispel the hype so that when you do get here, it will all be much pleasanter than you expected. You won't notice the Bangkok smell - something I would liken to spiced faeces - because I alerted you to it. The Thai dress women with the croaking wooden frogs; that would be familiar to you. The overpowering smog, the constant tuktuk taxi traffic, ah, so you heard. The constant queries about where are you going, my taxi will take you there, yes, you will be aware. The omnipresent yellow t-shirts; that too you would know (though hardly a negative point, I will admit).

The friendliness, that I haven't detailed. Every bus I have been on the always grumpy looking conductor (and wouldn't you be on a hot, un-air conditioned ramshackle bus all day) has let me know when I have reached my destination. The people are willing to tolerate only English speaking idiots asking idiot questions. The city is big and nasty, but also littered with pockets of real beauty. And then yesterday we went to the State Tower for a cocktail. Whoa! You step out of the elevator on the 64th floor and hold your breath. The view is more than spectacular. It is all the more amazing because unexpected. Effectively you have this garden overlooking every point of light in the city, a garden tranquil and eye-opening. A wall, easy to scale, unobtrusively stops you going over, the chicken wire just below hardly promising safety. It is astounding and all the more so because in its high gloss finish it contrasts with everything below. Amazing! And the cocktails, though expensive (hah! 8 quid) are perfect.

Alastair and LynnAlastair and LynnAfter this special experience, we went to Siam Square for some food. As we stood on a road reading our Rough Guide, a little old lady came to our aid. Small, with huge bright eyes behing big glasses, grey hair tied back and prim little old lady dress, she was the model of respectable Thaihood. She was, she said, rushing for the Skytrain, but why were we so white? How long have you been in Thailand? Where are you from? She worked in a bookstore, a university bookstore. She recommended a restaurant while telling us of her son who would pick her up from the Skytrain. She was rushing for that, but come, follow her, she would show us a good tailor. We could only presume that she had intuited Alastair's strong desire to have a suit made, for why else should she take us to a tailor. It was closed then, but it made excellent suits. Behind her a security guard from a hotel edged menacingly closer. If we did come back when it was open just mention the little old lady from the university bookstore. Wait! She had a card! Rummaging in her purse she took out the tailor's card, the Something-or-other Emporium (right next to Miss Puke's Thai Massage), and thrust it into my hand. Presumably I was to keep it in safe keeping until Alastair should need it. Finally having entertained us for minutes, she ran off to catch her Skytrain. In many ways that is Bangkok. If they'd only let up on the hassling and badgering, the constant calls for attention, it might be a nice place to destroy your olfactory ability.

Unlike other big cities that have several main streets of business with lesser tributaries branching off, Bangkok is made of main thoroughfares; business is everywhere. There are some oases of calm and finding them constitutes a major pleasure of a Bangkok stay. Each one found is another step to Nirvana. Having located one or two I am getting happier all the time.


At 12:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miss Puke's Thai Massage? Sounds good. Is scat also included? Phil.

At 9:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

went 4 bevs after croker on sat niallos as lal and ryan back. dennis couldn't make it though so we took it easy, ace


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