Coming back to Southeast Asia after 7 years has been interesting for me. I guess this is what they call the 7-year itch. Before I left London I was plagued with anxiety and indecision. I was listless.
We began as most travellers do, in the big, mighty, stinky metropolis of Krung Thep, or better known as Bangkok to most.
I certainly have had a fair amount of experiences in this city, including the first time I did coke, watched live sex shows, pissed my jeans due to excessive inebriation, and so on. Just like any other dickhead looking for a good time and trying to navigate through the neon lit urban swamp that is the capital.
Maybe I’m being a little unfair. Bangkok isn’t all vice. I know little of Bangkok aside from its party aspect, so forgive me, if this piece of writing appears trite.
We arrived thoroughly jet lagged as one would expect. Jumping into one of the cities reliable little pink taxis, we snaked our way through highways to the heart of the city’s “expat district”, Sukhumvit. Our digs were basic (we would later come to know the true meaning of ‘basic’) but comfortable.
On our way in I noticed black ribbons laid out on a coffee table, available to anyone who wished to sincerely mourn the death of the King. Indeed throughout our next ten days in Thailand, we would see huge billboards of the King’s image around every corner, at every street junction, museum entrance, train station, expressing grief at his demise. Noticeably there was much less of this type of tribute for the incumbent King, the far less popular, self-styled playboy son and heir.
I don’t know if this was just something I had imagined, but the nation’s grief still felt palpable. Like the country was at an uncertain point, and no-one really knew what was next.
Post incredibly delectable and sinfully indulgent sushi (bless the hedonistic genius who put foie gras and wagyu beef together in a sushi roll), we headed to a cool spot called Studio Lam. Run by the same people behind ZudRangMa records, its a nice little hideaway further down Sukhumvit Road, close to Thong Lor BTS. I was surprised by how vividly I remembered that area, the surrounding galleries, the food stalls on soi 38.
We drank some good cocktails made from their own fermented concoctions and homemade liqour. Tom yum flavoured liqour seemed to me a bad idea, but on hindsight I should have gone for it for the sake of novelty. A particular DJ Dangdut (best name ever) played a mix of peruvian and other latin funk records. Good stuff. A hefty street side meal later, and we are ready to sleep forever.
Why the fuck did I eat so much? Now I feel nauseous, slightly bewildered and my head is spinning.
This feeling of being bloated, a little sick, yet yearning for advdnture would characterise the rest of our time in Thailand. But now, sleep.