Bang Bang in Bangkok
I have escaped the miserable British weather to Bangkok, where the temperature is in the high 20s and I am wearing sunblock on New Years Eve. The city is massive and an odd mix of futuristic and traditional. Traffic jams are hideous, it's a lot noisier than most places I've been to, and everyone seems hysterically nationalistic. At the cinema (Alien vs. Predator 2 - the worst film ever made), we had to stand for the National Anthem. It was the King's 80th birthday on December 5th and as a result there are pictures of him everywhere. About 25% of the population are wearing yellow polo shirts, which is apparently the King's colour. I want to write that the stereotypes about sex tourism are not true, but yesterday we got a taxi to the Central World Plaza (a 7 floor shopping mall of western decadence) and as we got out, a couple of men approached us and offered us "Bang Bang...massage...." They made a little coupulating gesture with their hands. I had to have a Starbucks to recover. Still, I have been offered sex in exchange for money in Spain, Holland, Britain and Sri Lanka so it's not the only place where it goes on.
The airplane journey here had me hating on 90% of the world's international travellers as usual. More clapping as the plane landed. Some terribly behaved Russians at the immigration line - pushing in front of others, drinking from their bottles of Duty Free and worst of all, wearing leopard skin and sequined tops. At the exclusive Business class terminal in Doha airport, where we changed flights, I was shocked to see several women in their 50s who had had far too much plastic surgery and now resembled blonde cats. I know it's rude to stare but I couldn't help myself. They stared back but I think that was because they couldn't blink any more.