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Marking time in the City of Angels

Check InnI always find revisiting a city I’ve lived in after a long time away a bittersweet experience.

In the mid-nineties I spent nearly six years in South East Asia, with my partner Angela Savage, mainly working as a journalist. This included a year living in Bangkok, the abbreviated Thai name for which, Krung Thep, literally means “City of Angels”.

I also made countless trips to the city to transit to other places, for visa runs and R & R breaks. There was the time I got thrown out of Vietnam for something I’d written and had to cool my heels there for several weeks.  When my partner and I used to live in the Lao capital Vientiane we used to fly down specifically to buy English language fiction books.

Not that I ever needed much of a reason for a visit.

I loathed the Bangkok when I first visited it 1992, the pollution, the traffic and sheer, daunting bloody scale of the place. But when I left the region at the beginning of 1997, it was my favourite place. I loved the food, the people and the energy. I still like all these things, particularly the energy. New York? Bangkok’s the place that never sleeps unless it’s to grab a quick snooze on the back of a truck in slow moving traffic.… Read more