I'm BaKK Now

So yeah, I'm back from a long weekend in Bangkok. I didn't have any expectations before I went -- and I had barely done any reading into the history of the country and its cultures -- except for the obvious reputation for its prostitution industry and horrible traffic (and trafficking).

I have to say that I'm really impressed with the city and its peoples. Bangkok is actually very modern, and still retains the deep traditions that are instilled via religion and customs. Respect for the royal family is incredibly visible -- at any one point, you can find 10% of the people on the street wearing the symbolic yellow shirts, so much so that it looks like the official national uniform!

Despite its dense population, I've noticed that people are generally respectful of your private space, and surprisingly polite. I dare say they're more courteous than the Taiwanese are. When a Thai girl bumped into my table at the food court, she actually stopped, turned around, and looked me in the eye when she apologized. In contrast, on the flight back, we were docked at the gate and getting ready to de-plane ... and a Taiwanese lady squeezed her way through 5 of us to get to the back with nary a word of "excuse me".

Huh. That's a nice "welcome home".

PS: I also bought a new pair of shoes and threw out my raggedy old ones, which had travelled with me through USA, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali.


Kevin said...

If some girl turned to look me in the eyes when she said "sorry", I think it'd freak me out a bit.

Out of fright, I might go "WWaaahh...!" and punch her in the face. Then she'd really be sorry.

Ben said...

Looks like I got out of there just in time; I got this email from the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok:

"The following message was sent to all Canadians who have registered with the Embassy of Canada and who have provided their mobile phone number.

'Canadians should exercise caution and monitor local news due to reports of possible bombings in and around Bangkok between 11-17 April.'

"Please note that our travel report on Thailand is regularly updated at www.voyage.gc.ca

"Last Updated: April 10, 2007 15:14 EST
Still Valid: April 11, 2007 0:15 EST
Originally Posted: April 10, 2007 14:57 EST

"Thailand - Security

"You are advised against non-essential travel to the capital, Bangkok. You are also advised against all travel to the far southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla (including the city of Hat Yai)."