10 September 2005

Bangkok in 18 hours

The great thing about Bangkok is that there's lots to see. Unfortunately, I was only there for a grand total of 18 hours (including sleep, time at the airport, etc...). Needless to say, I didn't see much.

While the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel looks quite old from the outside, it's pretty damn nice on the inside. For starters, there was the band in the lounge.

Now when was the last time you saw a hotel in Malaysia where the band wasn't Filipino? It's nice to be able to actually understand what the performers say when they're not singing.

And they're quite talented too. They play mostly country, classic rock and easy listening stuff. And best of all, they don't play Michael Learns to Rock, Celine Dion or any of that rubbish. Very tasteful.

The other journalists and PR people started making fun of me when I took close-up shots of the female vocalist. You know, the usual childish "Wah, you ham sap loh (Cantonese for dirty bastard)! Taking pictures of girls arr...? What, for your own private collection izzit?"

I was annoyed and rather disappointed in their lack of maturity. Yes, she's pretty, but it's not like I'm spying on her from afar with a zoom lens (which is what they'd probably do). I've always had problems taking close-ups of people in the past but after some tips from a friend, I've learnt that the best way to take a portrait is to go up to the person and ask politely. It's a little odd at first, but - more often than not - people actually like having their pictures taken. Plus, it's definitely more respectful than zooming in from behind the bar/potted plants with a 300mm lens.

This was the view from my room. In Bangkok, the Royal Orchid Sheraton is unique in that every room faces the Chao Phrya river, which is cool. Shame about the haze, though...

These pictures were taken along one of the canals that branch off from the Chao Phrya river. Unlike most other major cities, the people of Bangkok use the river as a daily mode of transportation (via bus-like boats). Everyday, thousands (millions?) of people use these rivers to commute to work or to get around.

I'm sure I wasn't anywhere near the trendy or more modern parts of Bangkok, but these streets remind me a lot of the older parts of KL. What surprises me is how similar it is to KL, with food stalls by the roads, loads of motorcyclists, old buildings interleaved with new ones... Quite interesting. Wish I had more time to explore.

Last but not least, a silly English sign. There were also a bunch of signs at the airport saying "Apologize for any inconvenience cause. We are upgrading the system."

So, I'm supposed to say sorry that I have to queue longer than usual? :) Yup, Bangkok is similar to KL in many ways...


Aurora said...

I stumbled upon your blog via a comment in Shaolin Tiger's xiaxuegate *rolls eyes* post, and was pleasantly surprised by the nice easy reading. I think I will make a repeat visit, and no this is not some pathetic effort to lure readers to my own blog ;-)

Chris Chong said...

Yay! More visitors!!! >__<

Aurora said...

BTW - do you freelance or write fulltime for The Star?

Chris Chong said...

Full time. So yes, I've got a job where the employment requirements are:

1. I can speak proper English.
2. I can write in English.
3. I've been to school.

And from what most readers can probably figure out by now (if you look hard enough), I'm fairly convinced that some employees have only met one of the above criteria.

Aurora said...

Geez! How do you know that I've left a comment - and respond, within minutes??

Chris Chong said...

It was a coincidence. Checked my e-mail, saw that I've got a new comment and responded.

Didn't realise it was just 5 minutes after you posted... -_-

ShaolinTiger said...

Chris has nothing to do at work....so he just refreshes his comment box all day ;)

Yeah traffic from my site, the scandal, come back now!

Nice post btw, but where's the ladyboys and tiger shows of patpong!!

Chris Chong said...

"Chris has nothing to do at work....so he just refreshes his comment box all day ;)"

Don't we all?

Like I said, I've only had 18 hours and a full schedule. Not much fun...