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I spent 20 years punching a time clock... then decided there had to be another way. Right now I'm sitting in a comfortable chair on a beautiful beach. There's a sweet, soft breeze in the air. In front of me, on the clear blue water, a boat drifts by. Maybe I'll go snorkeling this afternoon, or work on my tan. This is my kind of tropical paradise... cheap and unspoiled!
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Atlantis with Rats!    

By Ken Silver About Asia
4520 Views | 2 Comments | 2/9/2015 4:13:31 PM

Bangkok!  It’s only right that the greatest city in the world be cheap, heartless, and drowning.  Also sleazy, degenerate, edible, and beautiful; like the scales of a wet fish in the sun are beautiful...

Lots of girls!

All looking for you!

Lots of street Asian food, lots and lots of temples. Deep our Bangkok is, like the bottom of the ocean is deep. Everything - the night, the day, the heat, the rain - just right. Except of course, if you have to make a living there. Fortunately for me, I don’t.

Can you visit there? Sure you can. Stay for three weeks, stay for a month. There seems no end to Bangkok. Stay till suddenly, like in the best horror movies, the Illusion falls from your eyes and then and there you smell the endless citywide auto exhausts and you yearn for fresh air and green, and you book that outta here bus or head off to the airport.

(With no fresh air there goes the romance. Well, that's life in Asia.)

(*Footnote –the airport name in Thai language is Cobra Swamp International.)


Second greatest city in the world.


You can't f*ck art.

Can you live there? (Bangkok.)

Sure, if you know the secret.

The secret to Bangkok is its neighborhoods.

Its' a coral reef of neighborhoods, myriad neighborhood organisms assembled in one huge reef monster of a city.

Those neighborhoods - rich, poor, modern, old - wax and wane with the moons of day and night, rainy and dry season, but they always abide and prosper.

Just pick a neighborhood a day to sight-see, and you’ll have fun.

After all, you don’t have to make a living there!

Chinatown with its Chinese food festivals, Little India, Downtown, the River and its countless riversides...

Banglamphu and good old Khao San Road itself, a complex of streets light years away from the real Thailand, and yet they too endure.


There’s a lot of strength in souvenir T-shirts for sale, apparently.

Unfortunately, they say Bangkok is drowning.

More on that latter!

Did you know Bangkok was once known as the “Venice of the East” because of its’ network of canals? Some of which now serve as very efficient commuter fast boat conduits to a modern frantic, rarely richer than thou downtown.

You can walk from the Royal Hotel, on Ratchamangom Av near Khao San Road, to a canal fast boat stop. In a few minutes of riding on the dirtiest water you'll ever see, all of it splashing wildly against the plastic curtains on your boat, you arrive at gleaming, tech noir, bright downtown.

Ah, but Bangkok is drowning, you say?

Well, when you are built on marshlands... global warming, rising sea levels… fair thee well, Venice of the East!

Underwater by 2050.

Or at least underwater enough to be non-negotiable for the usual casual crotch grabbing, photo taking, smiling fake monk panhandling tourism.

Even now, the rats with big money are escaping to the North, to Chiang Mai, the real sister city of San Francisco. The Thai winter can actually be cold there, and you rarely need air conditioning in summer.

Well, there will still be fish left in the oceans until 2070, so I guess we have a few decades to look forward to of brightly colored schools of tropical fish patronizing the by then underwater girlie bars.

Watch out, Australia! Here comes The Greater Bangkok Coral Reef.

After that, I don't know what kind of forms of life - if any - will be visiting the bars; probably crabs and lobsters, sitting on the bar stools, nursing one beer each for two hours.

Same Asian dating, only now done by creatures with six legs and four eyes.

A fitting end, perhaps.

Farewell, red hot nights when we used to weave and dodge through the crowds with the treasures of the night hand in hand.

Atlantis… Mu… Lemuria…Bangkok.

A thousand years from now, those in the know will smile and say that Bangkok was no more real than the mermaids whose songs lust blinded sailors would hear in the darkest hours of the most moonless of moonless ocean nights.

But we know Bangkok is all too real,don't we?

Real from the first cup of coffee in the morning to the last beers at night.

And then some!

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2015-02-09 22:57:25 by Barry1 @Barry1


Another great article, thanks Ken.

It's interesting in particular that you mention Chiang Mai. I've been studying where to live in the next few years and the name of this place keeps popping up. It certainly sounds like I need to go there to check it out for myself.

By the way, another news item that keeps popping up is that the dreaded shopping malls in continental USA are in trouble. I've heard there are dozens of them now completely empty and the trend is continuing. In fact, half of them are predicted to be closed in just fifteen years, 2030.

The reasons for this are many, such as the increase in online shopping; the fact that people are driving less these days; and big department stores such as JC Penny, Sears and Macy's are reducing, rather than expanding their mall sites.

A good article on this can be seen at

This ties in nicely with an earlier blog article you'd written about the scourge of malls in Asia, with their increasing proliferation driving out if not completely decimating many traditional precincts.

The end result seems to be that the big, top end malls will survive. But the lower to middle rate malls won't. And that's at least half of them.

Cheers Ken. (beer)

#2015-02-10 17:30:54 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Ken, I am saddened by the rather bleak picture you paint for the City of Bangkok. There are few cities in the world, maybe none, that I can remember having as much fun in. While it isn't a city I would choose to live in because of the crowds and the smog, it is a city I will always return to frequently.

I have had great times there both single and married, and I am not talking about the sex trade in anyway. In fact both my wife and I rank Thailand as one of the best places in the world to holiday in. If Bangkok really does drown, I will much miss her.

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