My Pride, My Thai part 6: Bangkok

It’s one of the largest cities in the world, and the city with the longest city name in the world: but for the most of us, it’s just BKK, Krung Thep or Bangkok. This is a place you most likely will hate the first time you arrive here, but once you let the city get beneath your skin, and into your bloodstream, you will never, ever be able to fully leave again. Bangkok will eventually get you! 

To read part 1: My Pride, My Thai part 1: The Preparation (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 2: My Pride, My Thai part 2: The flight (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 3: My Pride, My Thai part 3: The arrival (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 4: My Pride, My Thai part 4: The first morning (opens in a new tab). 

To read part 5: My Pride, My Thai part 5: Big C (opens in a new tab). 

So what is behind this fascination about Bangkok? 

Endless number of street-stalls selling t-shirts, food, limitless creativity and what appears to be never ending opportunities and fates. Why don’t you stop up for a moment, and think about it. You can do almost anything you want within the range of the law, at most hours of the day, every day of the year. The city is so much more than just tall buildings, life-threatening pollution and monster traffic-jams: it’s almost like a living entity, a breathing thing.... evolving, pulsating, throbbing, flashing, shocking..... and then it’s the shopping, oh, and all that eating. 

If you like food, Bangkok is the right place for you! All that wonderful street food, exotic fruits, fire-spicy seafood, salads....for those that have a stomach for it, and that is accustomed to this kind of hygiene, this is truly within the grounds of the pearly gates, known as heaven. Each time I return to Bangkok, I continously catch myself always eating, snacking, buying food, drinks and the overly sweet street-side local ice-coffee. 

Bangkok is everything, anytime and however you like it. Whether you are rich or poor, it’s a feast for the eye, senses and the stomach. It can be such an overload to your senses that it should carry a warning label in guide books. 

Personally, I have so many different experiences from this city, good and bad, more experiences than I possibly can count, and they have made me into what and who I am today. I can confirm that it is true. Very true. Bangkok will, when you have lived here, impact your life in ways you would never dream of. Bangkok is so incredibly different to any other city I have lived, traveled or visited. Despite having left the city and after having moved to Norway, I’m never able to fully leave. Most Scandinavians will not understand me when I tell them I will stay in Bangkok for the most part of my vacation… for them, quite understandably, Bangkok is a place you stop by at the end of your trip for shopping, after having spent the majority of your vacation in for example Pattaya, Hua Hin or Phuket. For me, Bangkok is always my destination, though I do enjoy the country side very much as well. 

During my days in Bangkok, I dress as I would when living here, like locals would. A t-shirt, long-leg jeans and flip flops…. tourists would most likely opt for the much lighter t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. Additionally, I cross the street to be able to walk in the shade, while tourists have no problems walking on the sunny side of the street. There is a very clear difference on how different people live the Bangkok experience: it is easy to see who just arrived, who are short-time visitors and who actually lives (have lived) here. 

As I mentioned earlier, this is the city of endless t-shirts outlets, and street foods as well as luxury restaurants. It is in Bangkok I have eaten my cheapest meal ever, as well as the most expensive meal of my life time. You can get anything, it’s all available here. 

As you may understand, this is the place where I always feel truly comfortable. I do understand that this is also a place where it might be easy to feel estranged and perhaps even lonely. It’s almost like Bangkok has grown so incredibly big, 4 times the population of the entire country of Norway, that it is now becoming hard to meet new friends. But that being said, it’s easier meeting new people here, than for example in Norway. You do not need to belong to a particular group, you will blend in as long as you are interested yourself. Bangkok, compared to the Thai countryside, might be a whole lot more superficial than I would like it to be. With the invention of social medias and self-indulging selfie-taking narcissists, a lot of people are way too much interested in promoting themselves online, than to actually look around, and live for the moment. That is the absolute downside of our current technology in a 15-million people-metropolis like Bangkok: there are more people seen walking and looking into their phones here, than any other place I have been to.  I have seen in restaurants, people who are so preoccupied with their mobile-phones that they are not even communicating face to face overe their own table at all. They are like ghostly zombies, busy liking and sharing images of their «happy-time» together - including pictures of their food. As soon as the image is shared, they do not communicate at all like we did when I grew up. Instagram and Facebook have become the ultimate advertising media for their perfect lives, but unlike before, when a picture could tell more than a thousand words, your social media feed will instead now, show the sad state of total narcissim. The truth behind so many news-feeds are that they probably didn't even speak during their meal. It’s not only sad, but tragic bordering pathetic. 

As I have been living in Norway again for some years already, it is also easy for me to see the changes in desperation with some people: a lot of the people truly wants to leave, but doesn’t have the means, knowledge, guts, initiative or possibility to do so. 

Bangkok and Trondheim is too very different places, while still on the same planet, they are worlds apart. Trondheim will never be like Bangkok, and Bangkok will never be like Trondheim. Thank heavens for that. That pretty much sums up what I was going to try convey by this entry. I’m so extremely fortunate because I have the opportunity to leave both places whenever I want to, it turns out to be the perfect combination of the two places. I’m also so extremely fortunate to having lived both places, and to bring with me qualities and baggage of experiences from both places. I’m very fortunate to having had that opportunity. 

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