Monday, September 05, 2016


Four years, two cancellations, and I'm itching to come back to Bangkok where my journey to the world began, to the memories of WAT-ching exquisite Buddhist temples, to the oriental flair of tom yum and uniqueness of the pad thai, to a late Friday afternoon traffic from the airport and a steaming bowl of noodles at the imperial Eastin Grand Hotel, and to the joyful feeling of finally setting foot again in the "Land of the Free", albeit governed by un-elected military rulers.   

I came for the Rice Talks with the prayer that we will finally get this one going, that we as a nation of Rice Eaters will be in the forefront of an impending Rice War, the APP vs MPP of a long time ago tucked in my back pocket, a change process hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles, and grim determination that we'll get a piece of the campaign pie too! 

I also came for pleasant surprises, like the classy Taiwanese whiskey Dinah and Bon opened for Kala's anniversary, a home cooked KBL [kadyos, baboy, langka] that I only had in the food courts of Iloilo's malls, great conversation with old and new friends, and surprise drink with the great Walden Bello.  

And I came for the Chatuchak Market to fill up a Sunday lull, to where it all began with a misspelled Che Guevara banner twelve years ago, unrecorded, for the record, extremely disappointed that the world's biggest flea market has become a mall of sorts, air conditioned and too organized, the mystery of piles and heaps gone to sorted stalls, the treasure hunt that I was expecting an aimless wander among factory-produced bric bracs.       

But I came with friends and that somehow made up, that and the friendly big-nosed paella chef, the sticky rice and mango, popsicle-d soda, the dried jackfruit and sweet tamarinds, the new antiques, the famous coconut ice cream topped with green sticky rice and sweet red beans, the experience of the Mo Chit BTS, ice cold Singha beer, and finally getting my first frames of the Chatuchak Market.   

Perhaps a repeat of the grilled mudfish and spicy pork salad along Convent Road would compensate for the lose of the old Chatuchak but that turned out to be a pot luck of extra hot Thai spread in a cramp smelling-like-used-socks and airconditioned restaurant along Sala Daeng, the cold draft beer mercifully dousing a burning tongue, and the curious encounter of colleagues from the north with Asian fruit-flavored finely shaved ice.  


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