Bangkok

My word Bangkok has changed since I first came here more than 30 years ago. My memory that can’t be trusted anymore has it that in those days old women would be cooking food on the street charging virtually nothing to a tourist, maybe 20 BAHT for one of my favourite dishes, som tum.

And I would be staying in a dorm type room for less than 100 BAHT a night, often 50 BAHT. Today we’re staying at the Emporium Suites hotel for around 4,500 BAHT and next door is the Helix, a shopping centre with gardens you can walk through and many first class restaurants. The transition from 3rd world to 1st world cannot be missed. Very stylish too, indeed the Thai’s have always had style. The whole city isn’t like this, there is still some poverty but pockets are extremely nice and impressive. Indeed the world is less poor than in the past, globalisation has worked for some.

Just needed to add that we went to the tea specialist TWG for that and also dinner. I had one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten, scallop carpaccio, absolutely exquisite. I was an apprentice chef at a famous French restaurant in Melbourne and know a thing or two, really so delicate exposing flavours and interesting ingredients. The duck confit that followed also good but the entree exceptional. Despite being in a shopping mall the place looks old world with ornate wooden bars and tables.

I must add that perhaps Bangkok is 2nd world after a taxi ride today, nah third by observation, and the worst traffic globally which increases it a little as they all have cars it seems. 8km in 2 hours to Kho San road, an old favourite spot.

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