The Feeding Of The Twelve Million

That’s the current population of Bangkok; I suppose this does not include tourists. Interesting to see not only the breadth of choices, but the sheer magnitude of these street-level operations.

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Here’s the scene of a Tuesday morning in some nondescript little alley somewhere deep within the frontiers of Chinatown. Would you believe that motorcycles ply this alley as well? God damn better believe it, ’cause it’s true! They use the alley for deliveries.

And here we have a glimpse of Sampeng Market. No big deal; but this old guy is cool.

Here’s the lowdown on Chinatown: the maps tell one story, the street tells a different story. Put these alternate realities together, and you’ll find that you never know where you are unless you know where you are (if you know what I mean). On the other hand, wherever you (don’t know) where you are, there’ll be something bitchin’-ass cool to see.

Saw a Buddhist monk walking around barefoot, and felt empowered to do the same. Yo, ’cause I had previously received a clarification from the hosteliers, when asking whether it would be considered a violation of the taboo to barefoot it on the grass in the park? They said that as far as they were concerned, I could barefoot it anywhere, so long as I washed my feet before I came inside; or shod up before coming inside, then washed my feet before removing shoes and walking around.

Were it not for the cultural taboo, Bangkok would be a brilliant city in which to barefoot it: no dog-doo, no litter, no broken glass. True, the pavements can get kind of hot, but the feet will over time build up a tolerance, so it’s all good.

Notwithstanding the hoteliers’ generosity, am I pissing off other Bangkokers? Don’t know! Many people make sure I know that I’m not wearing shoes; but they don’t tell me in English what they think of it. Pretty much none of them seem to be offended — though pretty much all of them seem to think I’m a Grade-A Schmutz. I could live with that. (Hell, that’s what most Americans think of barefooters.)

Missed a great opportunity to-day, dammit all. Been trying to learn some basic Thai phrases, and for some reason had found “thank you” a bit difficult to remember. Finally had it all figured (he think). Pulled out a map while on the river taxi, and the young Thai gentlemen next to whom I was sitting asked in English whether I needed any help? I explained that, nah, I was just checking to see how many more stops ’til my own. Then, like a dumb-assed dill-weed, I thanked him…in English!

Oy vey. Did give him the ol’ Wai gesture as I got up to leave, and he did seem to appreciate it. But it just wasn’t the same.

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1 Response to The Feeding Of The Twelve Million

  1. SST says:

    The ultimate tourist destination for any street-food obsessive, Bangkok boasts thriving markets throughout the city, with some of the most robustly-flavored street snacks coming from neon-lit Yaowarat Road in the city’s Chinatown. Here, makeshift stands offer pork skewered on sugar canes; fragrant fish curries; sweet bananas deep-fried in rice-flour batter; and durian, the notoriously stinky fruit.

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