Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Bangkok Reflections

I came back from Bangkok on Saturday and the trip just reiterated the fact that (a) I cannot travel with my parents and (b) I cannot follow a tour guide. My first impression of the city wasn't exactly a pleasant one as I'd hope for it to be a metropolitan city bursting with energy, but instead it was sort of a letdown. Traffic was horrible and I've come to expect that since I actually did a case study of this city for my A-Levels preparation a few years back. Apart from that, the Geography student in me kicked in and I made the point that the infrastructural development of the city is poor. You have slums besides high rise, expensive-looking apartments and you wonder how people here actually get by.

After spending a day, I've come to accept the city for who and what it represents and then I see the beauty of it. You have carefree schoolchildren not bogged down by the need to get home to prepare for tuition classes. They don't carry huge bags full of heavy schoolbooks. Instead, they're happy to skip along the pavement with what I see is a jotter book and a small pencil case. You have street vendors enlivening the streets with rowdy catcalls to attract customers, lending this unique vibe to an otherwise drab and generic street corner. In Singapore, that would be called 'illegal hawking.' You have a truly Asian country that accepts the eccentricities of its people regardless of how they define their gender. The people may not boast of high qualifications but they do seem to take pride in their jobs, be it being a street hawker, or a shop assistant.

So, no trip to Bangkok would be complete without a shopping spree. In fact, that's the whole purpose of this trip, especially for me. I got great bargains on a lot of things and it's satisfying to pay so little for so many items. I would have loved to explore the city a litle bit more, to explore the arts venue like the Bangkok Art And Culture Centre but alas, I was with people who had dragged me down so all I can do, was make do. I suppose a future trip would be coming up, but this time, I'll make sure it's the kind of holiday that I want.

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