Friday, September 23, 2005

One Night in Bangkok - Part the second

So much for being comprehensive. In my defence, I can argue the ill-effects of sleep deprivation. Or it could just be that I have a really bad memory. Who really cares?

Anyway, Bangkok. The hotel we were staying in - The Imperial Queen's Park as it is grandly known, was on one side of a small park, built in the mid 80's when the Thai government decided to knock down the Ministry of Meteorology buildings and put in their place a space for the people to use. I like Thailand - they have a refreshingly about-face way of looking at things compared with us idiot British. Here we bulldoze our playing fields to build houses and supermarkets - there they knock down their ministries to build parks.

On the other side of the park there stands an enormous shrine to the god of shopping - a six story mall (maul?), with cinema complex and liveried doormen who salute you as you enter the air-conditioned luxury. On top of this edifice to spending are some of the most exclusive and expensive apartments in the city, apparently. I didn't get to see them, but I'm sure they're very nice.

Wandering the halls of commerce, I was struck by an odd thought. With Prado, Versace, Louis Vuitton (sp?), DKNY and a couple of dozen other high fashion names all parading their wares in sparse designer window-displays (not a price tag in sight), I realised that I was completely unmoved by the whole thing. As Jack Johnson sings: 'look at all those fancy clothes, but these will keep us warm just like those.' I wondered if my lack of fashion-drive was a sign of rural simplicity; a terrible lack of sophistication. Or whether it was the face of a much deeper maturity. All these ant-like people, scurrying around in their city of ten million souls, working, earning and spending their money on fancy labels to sew into their sweat-shop jeans and T-shirts.

Maybe I'm just a heartless old cynic.

Upstairs in the maul there was a food court, where we sat and drank coffee for a while, until the ex-pat at the table next to us forced us away with his loud explanation to his friends about how to get rid of prostitutes without paying. As lunchtime conversations go, it was perhaps not the best of subjects. It was hot, so we went in search of ice cream, finding at last a small booth outside the cinema, where amongst the more common flavours you could have Ovaltine or Horlicks. I was tempted, but it wasn't quite time for bed.

Yesterday evening, as we sat in the main hall for the conference dinner, I asked Barbara if she could remember the movie we'd watched on the plane from Bangkok to Sydney. I was fairly certain we'd seen something, but for the life of me I couldn't remember; neither had I been able to remember when I typed my last overlong letter from the underparts. This I think speaks loud volumes about the quality of the film in question. After much racking of brains, we finally remembered. Brad and Angelina in Mr and Mrs Smith. Instantly forgettable tosh. I much preferred Herbie.

Next time: Adelaide, Aussie Rules Football and the Conference from Hell...


Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

" where amongst the more common flavours you could have Ovaltine or Horlicks"

Think yourself lucky - they have horse-flavour ice cream too. Award winning it is. Making this up I am not.

Ooh, I sound just like Yoda...

September 23, 2005 9:14 am  
Blogger Trace said...

Horse flavour? No way! Are you serious? BLECH!!!!

I kinda like Mr & Mrs Smith!

September 27, 2005 12:20 pm  

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