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Thailand

Bangkok

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I arrived in in Bangkok at midnight after a long flight from Seattle with a short layover in Tokyo's Narita International Airport. Bangkok's arrival procedures were straightforward, but long lasting. Some thirty passangers from the plane lined up in a queue to obtain a tourist Visa. I was five persons away from the desk when an airport official ushered everyone (imagine a long snake with baggage winding in a crowded place) to another location that served the same purpose but already head a queue of twenty passangers. Some visitors in front of me were naturally confused, and even upset. In the end, 1.5 hours elapsed between landing and taxi.

Throughout the city, the usual mechanisms for transportation are by big bus, small bus, Tuk-Tuk, metered taxi, bicycle or motorbike.

If you're lucky you can drive your air-conditioned car, but knowing the patterns of traffic congenstion becomes critical in navigating the sprawl.

Note that few vehicles are in a lane on the street at a given time. It seems acceptable to drive in a way that is strategically advantageous to passing vehicles that get in the way. This is especially true in slow moving traffic situations.

Given this self-organizing behavior of vehicles (think of birds flocking), crossing the road also becomes tricky and is best attempted with a friend.

The city is a mix of modern sky scrapers (that are modeled after those presently standing in New York City) and older communities.

At night the city continues living like nothing happened. In fact, because it's cooler, business thrives.

Businesses roll by down the street one after another.

In Bangkok is the Grand Palace. Some 80 km north of Bangkok is Ayutthaya, the old capital of Siam.

In one restaurant, there were two clever signs worth pointing out:


This is http://michal.guerquin.com/photo/thailand/november2005/bangkok.html, updated 2006-04-05 00:53 EDT

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