Sorry Bangkok, for I have misjudged you severely.
What happened? Did I remember you wrongly? Or did you just become a much more becoming city since I visited you 11 years ago?
I remember Bangkok as a boiling hot, incredibly smelly (of smog), dirty and unpleasantly chaotic city, where I had to take at least 2 showers a day to wash off the muck I accumulated walking to all the sights and sweating my brains out.
It’s still a boiling hot city, but not half as smelly as I remember it, and certainly not more chaotic than, for instance, Hanoi (to name a city).
As I come to think of it – it is not so strange that Hanoi rose to mind. I have the feeling the Hanoi is now (atmospherewise, certainly not importancewise or number-of-inhabitantswise) what Bangkok was 11 years ago.
It seems more likely that the fact that Bangkok was my first encounter with South East Asia, and that I was just totally so not used to and overwhelmed by all these new impressions, coloured my memory of Bangkok a lot. Now, with so many more Asian cities and places visited, Bangkok seems almost as easy going as Singapore. Well, not entirely, but you know what I mean…
To put it shortly: it’s a shame that we based our schedule on my memory of Bangkok. If we could plan it anew, we would certainly stay at least another day, especially in this wonderful hotel we have now.
There has been one moment, though, when we had a little glance at the Bangkok as I remembered it: when we had our tuktuk stop at Khao San Road, just to give Patrick an impression. It was not something to do again…
It was very good, however, to rediscover the touristy but atmospheric and relaxed neighbourhood where my friend Richard and I stayed 11 years ago. And to have a coconut drink at the exact same place as before. It tasted just as good as I remembered it…