30 August 2002

23. - 30 AUG: Bangkok, end of the trip.

I have a couple of days in Bangkok before heading out of Indochina. The name means the “city of angels” and it is twinned, guess what, with Los Angeles in California!

Bangkok is a bustling metropolis, full of life and activity, be it economic, cultural or entertainment. The best way around, I find, is by boat, though I have had fun taking a few tuk-tuk rides in the hectic traffic. The ferries along the river are fast and cheap. The "emerging" Thailand has definitely emerged!

One afternoon I visited the Jim Thompson house. He was an American secret service agent who worked here in WW II and stayed. In the fifties he started collecting artifacts from old Thai homes and assembled what is perhaps the most valuable collection at his home. This is now the best example of traditional Thai home available, and since his mysterious disappearance in 1967 has become a museum. There is also a classy shop with fine silk products. A most interesting and serene place.

One evening I decide to go to the famous "Oriental Hotel" for dinner and a dance show. I can reach the hotel by means of a free boat shuttle that crosses the river at regular intervals. The food is great and the show well arranged. Around me mostly well-to-do Thai patrons, though quite a few tourists contribute to fill the hall.

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