Friday, January 30, 2009

SLUMMING IN SIAM

That it should come to this. Posting a blog from a coin-operated computer.


Bangkok. One huge mis-en-scene from Blade Runner. Skytrains, buses, scooters, the ever-present tuk tuks. So many people in this mad rush toward obscurity. The roads noodle skywards, layer upon layer. The sky is scraped of its sun, its stars. Forget remembering a tall building to use as a landmark. The city sprawl is too wide. I can't see the sky, just this strange grey haze. Smog. Horns blare. A bus lurches forward, only to stop again in the traffic. A girl in the window wears a face mask.

I walk through the side roads; the Soi. Through tunnels between them, past the roadside stalls, with their deaf vendors signing to each other. Past the go-go girls i saw when i was here for the coup in '06. Same same - but different. Another tuk-tuk tout approaches me.

"You want taxi?" he says, grabbing my arm and gesturing towards one of the line of waiting drivers.
"No, thank you."
"You like massage?"
"Sorry. You're not my type."

I find a roadside vendor to make me som tum. With a Tiger beer. Sit back on a plastic chair, the steel table, and watch the tourist parade, of which i am, by default, a part. An elephant ambles by. I'd forgotten about the elephants.

4 comments:

ramsnake said...

Good to hear you again - How did the great reunion go at the Heart of Darkness?

sarah toa said...

Keep feeding in those coins shark, we wanna hear it all.

Julia Scissor said...

I have been to Bangkok but this description feels so much like my own city. Only that there are no coin-operated computers and horses and elephants are seen occasionally.

Mark Roy said...

@ Robin - haven't made it to Phnom Penh yet and i think Miss Mayhem is staying in NYC for a while. I'm sure we will meet up again sooner or later somewhere or other...

@ Sarah - i'm having trouble writing anything at all, but i will persevere!!

@ Julia - it's a pretty lame description of a very alive city... i blame the vodka shots and the three cans of Leo beer i drank before i sat down at the computer (with more beer)