the two weekends' sandwiching my trip to india (to be detailed in a later entry) were spent in bangkok, fulfilling the pent-up consumer hunger that had built over my month in cambodia. it's true phnom penh has plenty by way of restaurants, bars and the like, but when it comes to familiar flagships of good ol' material life in the states, it's a vast empty terrain. no mcdonald's, no starbucks and no multiplex cinemas.
in some ways it's been refreshing to live a life devoid of any monuments to western capitalism (besides, i eat mcdonalds once a year, don't drink coffee and see about one movie a season), but there's something strangely comforting about being in the presence of those familiar symbols. while in bangkok i succumb to my every material want and was astonished at the city's ability to satisfy, no matter the level of my rapacity. from the chaotic chachutek weekend market to the refined siam paragon mall (with stores so high end i dared not even enter them), bangkok was my greedy respite from the "development" life in phnom penh. i shopped to the point of fatigue, i took in a v.i.p. showing of shrek three (you pay extra bucks to enjoy the film from a love seat with blanket at all) and i helped myself to some burger king fries. and my, how good it felt!
not to be overlooked: i also visited a few famous spots (like the reclining golden buddha and chinatown), did my fair share of gay clubbing with a good friend and got the most exhilirating traditional thai massage (complete with elbows, knees and spine-twisting maneuvers).
best of all was the street food. in cambodia i shy away from most food served off wheels or in alleys, but in thailand i couldn't take the variety of offerings down fast enough. every kind of satay, fried noodle dish, curry and soup was at my disposable and you better believe i ate it all. hands-down best thai food i've ever had was in some back alley of chinatown (see photo below). mm-mm!
being as enraptured by the sights and commodities as i was, i again failed to concentrate my photographic efforts ( i swear i'll have to make the rounds again someday solely to capture everything on film), but here are a few shots i managed to snap amid the frenzy.
wat arun temple
the reclining buddha (notice the size compared to the doorway)
behind the docks