I love to explore the world and experience life that is radically different than my own. I find that the more I learn about the world the more I understand about myself and what I feel passionate about. Declarative knowledge is great for some things however when it comes to geography I prefer to experience it for myself. When my partner announced that he had a business trip in Bangkok, I was all over that! I visited Japan in 2010, and LOVED it, so the opportunity to visit Thailand was just fantastic!
Upon arriving it soon became very apparent to me that I was in a third world asian economy, that really wanted to be European, with a particular interest on British culture. There are traditional English shops all over the place which felt a bit weird! We even found Waitrose products in the supermarket! And we went to see Everest in the cinema in English with Thai subtitles.. It felt very strange being the other side of the world and feeling more like the UK than it does in South France!! I found myself celebrating and loving the English-ness and celebrating and relishing the unique Thai-ness with all the new experiences that brought me.. Including tuc-tucs! Wow, seriously if you visit Bangkok you need to take a ride on one of these!
It felt strange to walk from an extravagant, super modern, expensive shopping centre filled with every high end fashion designer imaginable, and a line of Ferraris on the ground floor into a street with illegally wired cables draped and bundled all over the cityscape, and a general dirty feeling. Such a city of contrasts between the super rich and the super poor all enmeshed together. We experienced super wealth, and extreme poverty in the space of about 30 seconds and although the people were very friendly, and respectful everything felt to be money orientated. Something about that is beautiful in its own right, and I guess that is apart of the Bangkok appeal.
The day after we arrived my partner and I headed to the river and took a long tail boat through the old part of Bangkok. Wow, what a different life! I saw houses that were essentially small wooded sheds leaning to one side on rotten stilts standing in the muddy sewage water, where small children were standing almost naked on the rocks underneath fishing, and prestigeous Buddhist temples richly decorated in yellows, orange, reds and golds. One of my favourite things to do in Japan was to visit Buddhist temples – and that definitely transferred to Thailand too! We went to the temple of the reclining Buddha, and it was so cool! Religion as a concept is something that I struggle with, however I find Buddhism to be something that I can get on board with.. At least in a “wow lets go and take selfies in that temple!” kind of way.
As well as all the fun and exploring, we were actually there to work! I was asked to write a psychology article for an aviation magazine on pilot decision making, which is exciting (and scary! Eek), and the conference itself went really well. Lots of interesting ideas kicked around which spurred some interesting conversations.
..In my experience, the best part about Bangkok is definitely the food! I’m not so keen on traditional Thai food as fish really isn’t my thing, but the Thai-Asian fusions are just outstanding! Seriously, whole new level of food-gasm!
Oh and we went to a roof bar on top of our hotel and it was just incredible!!!! Check out that breath taking view!!! Vast, vast city!