Sunday, November 16, 2008

Living in the Big City

Well, lately I have been busy recovering from my cold (still not 100% healthyL), mourning the royal death (and therefore exclusively wearing black and other sober colours...BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK in Bangkok these days!!!), living a nice boyfriend life (going to loy krathong (loy krathong is a Thai festival where people put a nice little boat with candle and incense stick into any kind of water while saying prayers. As far as I know, the meaning is to make all the bad things go away and wish for an obstacle-free next year. If you feel you are serious with your partner, you can/should float a krathong together) together, watching movies together, eating together and so on...) but also studying like a good student. And that’s why I am going on an island in the East of Thailand tomorrow. Yes, to study!
Which brings me to the topic of city life. You see, I have grown up on the countryside. In farangland, I grew up in a village, population 3’500. Ok, there are some cities close-by but still, countryside. Then I moved to a city, population 75’000 to study. It’s still like a village. I have always loved cities and especially city-life though. When I would travel to cities I would never check out the attractions or sights. I would just walk around and try to get the feel for a city. I was most-fascinated when I started visiting Asia a few years ago. First Seoul, then Hong Kong and Singapore; lastly Manila and Bangkok. I think I still love Seoul the most. I was mesmerised by the sheer amount of people, life and hustle and bustle. I was overwhelmed in fact. In farangland, everyone is at home in front of the TV once school or work stops but in the big Asian cities (mind you it was cold November in Seoul) people were out in the streets eating, chatting, promenading and enjoying. And they were well-dressed too. A few months later, it was like a revelation to see a packed restaurant at 3.30am on a weekday opposite of my hotel room in Hong Kong. These experiences made me move to Asia. It was Bangkok due to a coincidence and connections of my university. Bangkok is much of the same, smaller and less shiny than Seoul and Hong Kong and less violent on the eye than Manila, but also much more interesting than any of these cities probably. Bangkok is wonderfully international (you don’t ever read about this in magazines or blogs...). Bangkok is at the crossroads of Asian cultures. Influences of China (tradition), Japan and Korea (business and pop-culture), India (spirituality and immgrants), Muslim Southeast Asia (from the south of Thailand), Australian expats (and sadly backpackers),
European and American travellers and expats, there’s everything.
Chinese culture in Bangkok
Euro-Antipodean-American culture in Bangkok
Korean culture in Bangkok
Christian influence in Bangkok
One place which I personally find one of the best measurements of internationality of a place is the supermarket. Go to Gourmet Mart in SiamParagon, or the supermarkets in Centralworld or Central Chidlom and you will possibly find the widest choice of international products you have ever seen.
But living in the city can be exhausting. There’s always a friend to meet, a movie to be seen, a shop to be visited or a temple to be seen. But, it takes TIME to move between places...a lot of time! And I am still on the search for a quiet place with wireless, plug and a nice view nearish to my home to study...that’s why I am going on a break on the island for a few days. Studying on the beach sounds appealing to me!
p.s. this time the pictures are taken by the bangkokbitch herself:)

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