Thursday, December 12, 2013
I was asked as part of a creative writing workshop to describe a travel destination. I am a frequent visitor to Bangkok so I chose this most unique of cities. ‘Bang’ meaning village, ‘Makok’ meaning wild plum, put them together and what do you get? South East Asia’s most vibrant capital – Bangkok. King Rama 1 went one better, he gave it a title consisting of 12 words and 166 letters. Locals shortened it to Krung Thep which translates into ‘City of Angels’. Wild plums and Angels are not names normally associated with Bangkok. Those expecting orchards bursting with fruit, lovingly tended by celestial pickers, will be cruelly disappointed. It is a city and a fast expanding one at that. It is a city of huge contrasts – extreme wealth and grinding poverty. It is a city that runs on cash – it is corrupt. But it is a city that works – it is super-efficient. The people work to eat – they have no option. There is not a need they cannot satisfy! But don’t let that fool you.