Everchanging Bangkok

It is said that when you first arrive in Bangkok, there is a big chance you will not like it, and for some, even hate it. The traffic is notorious, the pollution is increadible, the masses of people are never-ending, as well as the stiffling heat.  But after a while, as soon as you let your guard down,  you will fall in love and you will never be able to fully leave again: be warned that Bangkok will eventually get under your skin and capture you! 

Since the first time I set my feet in Bangkok, I have seen tremendous changes. I know, in my lifetime, even in cities like for example Trondheim, the city has changed a lot, but probably not as fast and dramatic as Bangkok. I remember a time long before cell-phones, before internet cafes, before the skytrain, and a time when parts of World Trade Center (now Central World) had sections and corridors almost without illumination and where few people dared venture. 

I love returning to Bangkok each and every time, and I do feel very much at home in this city. I still remember a lot of the streets, small soi's (side-streets and alleys), and other short-cuts through the traffic. I still have, and keep on returning to my favourite hang-outs, super-secret places to find great local food and other services. I have studied there, worked there, made a living with an office job, and I miss parts of it every single day of my life. When I’m there, I never find myself doing the tourist things, hence it’s been an extremely long time since I have visited the Grand Palace and for example very "touristy” Khao San Road. I’m also told - even till this day - that I don’t look much like a tourist in town, because of the way I dress. I don’t even walk on the sunny side of street but without thinking about it, look for the shady side of the street or walk under places where there is some kind of shade. I love talking to nearly everyone I meet, and have therefore been able to meet so many increadible personalities of all sorts. I might have been a lot more shy in the past (may be hard to believe to some of you), but I no longer have problems striking up a conversation with anybody. Naturally, a much more mature age and greater proficiency in the language both have something to do with this as well. Bangkok got me a long time ago, and I have big problems leaving the city behind. 

I have driven my own cars and motorbikes throughout the streets of Bangkok, and I have been transported in limousines. I have spoken to directors of multi-million dollar companies, as well as motorcycle taxi drivers. I have been to many of their homes, met their extended families and I have been to very high-so parties. I have also been extremely fortunate to having met truly desperate people, and I have made aquaintances with all types" of people (of you get what I mean). Bangkok never stops surprising me with its variety and social levels. The best part is that each time I return I seek and find many of the people Ive met in the past - and most of them have not forgotten about this strange man from the land of the midnight sun. The people of Bangkok is my family, in so many ways. I truly love not only Bangkok, but all the people who calls it their home city. In my distant dreams, I know I will one day return and live there. The question is not if but rather “when”. 

The below song is the reason behind why I felt I had to share this bLOG entry. It makes me think of all the great moments I have had there, as well as the darker sides of Bangkok. It makes me think of the people who over the years have succumbed to the citie’s various traps, and those that could not make or find a living. It makes me think of the shops that are no longer, the quickly disappearing teak mansions and the countless Internet Cafe’s which are almost now all gone. It makes me think of the night-clubs and bars I used to frequent and which have changed owners several times or have closed down their businesses. It makes me think of all the personal stories and tragedies, all the lights and the 24/7 open 7-11 shops. 

Perhaps, Bangkok is not a city after all. Bangkok might instead be a living thing. If Bangkok had been categorized as an animal, it would most likely be a every-hungry carnivore: the T-Rex of South East Asia. 

Have you been to Bangkok? What do you think of Bangkok, and do you hate or love it? Let me hear from you. 

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