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Bangkok Vs. Paris!!!    

By Ken Silver About Asia
4273 Views | 2 Comments | 2/24/2012 3:08:36 PM

Which is the greatest city in the world? Greatest for what? For walking! For having Fun! I asked my dog this very question. With a few wags of his tail he made it clear the answer is a toss up between Bangkok and Paris. Not Seoul or Hanoi, because there they would cook and eat him.

There is a lot to be said for Paris and for the French. In Paris there is no ethnic or religious conflict. There is only the eternal chasm between the badly dressed and the fashionable. Walking the old brick side streets and boulevards, one cannot fail to, - ha ha, – cannot fail to be, –oh ha ha ha ha – impressed by the – ha ha ha ha ha - kindness and warmth of the – ha ha, ha - French people. It is said Dracula was based on a French waiter.

One snowy November afternoon I was trying to find the Opera House, which the guidebook proclaimed an architectural masterpiece. I stopped in a warm bar for directions. The customers looked friendly enough. There was an old grandfather with a sad face off in the corner, sitting with a guy I took for his son.

“Le Opera?” I inquired. The entire bar burst into uproarious laughter. Since the word is exactly the same in English, I didn’t quite get the joke. The son put his arm around my shoulder. “You have made my father smile, with your abominable pronunciation. He has not smiled since he was forced during the last war to endure the fashion sense of Adolph Hitler.“

Patting me on the shoulder, he pointed the way. His father laughed harder. A half hour later when I arrived, by freezing nightfall, at the city dump, I began to appreciate French humor. The French don’t laugh at Jerry Lewis because they find him funny. They laugh at him because they think he is a cripple.

But, on the other hand, Paris is a city wide outdoor art museum. The Metro subway stations are literally never more than a few blocks away in case you get tired. You can snack your way to Heaven via the countless pastry shops. There are cheap restaurants. A decent hotel can be had for $80 U.S.A. The stained glass cathedrals are magnificent testaments to the greatness of your soul, and afterwards you can pay for tawdry, meaningless sex in doorways with any number of women from Eastern Europe.

But no, Paris ain’t cheap. And it has a rainy snowy winter which literally puts a damper on casual strolling. Not to mention the old pitted marble of the gargoyles of Notre Dame can be a lot warmer than Parisian women.

Bangkok, on the other hand, is pretty darn cheap. And you can walk it, heat be darned, throughout the year. Walk it, and then catch a $5 taxi back to your $10 hotel. Temples stand in for cathedrals. There are amazing markets. It is much more of a 24 hour city. You are safer from crime in Bangkok than in Paris. Thais are very warm and friendly. They respect you, or at least your wallet, more. (Your wallet, like a fish underwater, looks a heck of a lot bigger in Southeast Asia than it does in Europe.)

Which for me?

Drum roll, please!

I’d say Bangkok, because I can afford it. But if you have a chance to spend a week or less in Paris in good weather, please do so! Just try to visit the cathedrals as much as the pastry shops!

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#2012-02-24 21:00:14 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

I think Bangkok certainly beats Paris in the category of more likely to find a military coup taking place in the major tourist section of the city. Go Red Shirts!

#2012-03-05 04:38:57 by raybaby40 @raybaby40

I personally have found the Parisians, and especially the Parisiennes, friendly and charming. But if you do your best imitation of Jerry Lewis in fractured French, they will, justifiably, laugh at you. I laugh at you. I'm not French, I'm American. But I did learn to speak French correctly before going to France. Invest in Rosetta. See some films in French. Buy some French songs. Otherwise, prepare to be a laughingstock in Paris.

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