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Lawrence Osborne on Bangkok in the NY Times

bangkok travel sukhumvit

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#1 forrestreid

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 06:59 AM

Another posting on here recently mentioned the online Stickman column. As a sometimes reader of it, usually I find the best thing in it (for the gay reader anyway) is his gleanings from the newspapers of Thai related stories.

 

But one he missed was an article recently in the New York Times by Lawrence Osborne, talking about the neighbourhood of Bangkok (basically middle Sukhumvit) that Osborne is currently living in.

 

https://www.nytimes....lture.html?_r=0

 

It is called "My Bangkok - City of Spirits" and he talks about walking around the city and visiting his favourite haunts, especially late night bars.

 

It is well worth a look. It may be in rather purple prose, but for somebody who lives outside Thailand, like me, and visits as a tourist, it really caught the exotic feeling of modern Bangkok (including the bits they are trying to kill off, like street drinks carts) and will certainly arouse nostalgia in many forum readers.

 

Gave me some ideas for bars I might wish to try when I next visit too.

 

Osborne wrote a whole book about an earlier period he spent  living in in Bangkok, called "Bangkok Days", which is worth a look if you like style of writing in the article.



#2 traveller123

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 12:00 PM

I really enjoyed reading this article.Thanks Forrestreid



#3 ChristianPFC

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 10:40 PM

Osborne wrote a whole book about an earlier period he spent  living in in Bangkok, called "Bangkok Days", which is worth a look if you like style of writing in the article.

 

I read the book and didn't like it. http://christianpfc....istory-and.html

 

Bangkok Days (Lawrence Osborne)
"Far more than a travel book, Bangkok Days explores both a little-know, extraordinary city..." 
I was hoping to find information that might be of use to me, but I didn't.

I didn't like the style it is written in, but a friend who used to teach English literature likes it. But even my friend admitted it contained several errors.

p144 "the world's longest road" referring to Sukhumvit
(Sukhumvit at 488 km isn't even Thailand's longest road; that would be Phetkasem at 1,274 km)
p160 "like magnetic disturbances that alter a few molecules deep inside your liver" Only someone who has no idea about physics or biology can write such nonsense.
p214 "The sky has a neon tinge here, soft and elastic." It's grammatically correct, but makes no sense to me.
p260 Loha Prasat "and it was one of the three "metal palaces" in Buddhist lands (the other two, by legend, were in India)." one in India, one in Sri Lanka
https://en.wikipedia..._Ratchanatdaram
I shudder at the thought how many more errors, in areas I am not knowledgeable, this book contains.

If anyone is interested, I can sell the book for 80 Baht (half the price I paid), and even that would be 80 Baht more than I think it's worth.

That offer still stands.



#4 whall

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 02:19 AM

Which book like that do you recommend?

#5 forrestreid

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 03:06 AM

Oh, Christian, you are such a fact-obsessed person, you would put Gradgrind to shame!

 

I am sure there is no shortage of small factual errors in the Osborne book, I wouldn't dispute it, but what he was trying to get at was the SOUL of Bangkok. It has to be read and appreciated with that in mind.

 

[flicks hair and sighs theatrically]

 

 

But it takes all types to make the World, I suppose (I can be the most nerdy guy going sometimes myself, particularly when it comes to transport networks), so here is a web page that is more likely to gladden your heart:

 

http://www.nomadicno...-asia-rail-map/

 

It is a map created of all the railways that are proposed currently in South-East Asia, and what the network will  look like after they are built (in the unlikely event they ARE all built).

 

Cool to look at at think about the day when you get get a train all the way from Yangon to Saigon, via Bangkok...

 

The rest of the website, about travel generally and Vietnamese travel in particular, is well worth a browse too.



#6 colmx

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:57 AM

 

[flicks hair and sighs theatrically]

 

OMG, Forrest! I haven't seen you throw such a hissy fit since my Filipino nursemaid (Jay?) offered you a bed-bath!

Funnily enough he never offered one to me!



#7 ChristianPFC

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:51 AM

Which book like that do you recommend?

 

I liked 22 Walks in Bankgok, Bangkok found and Mysterious Bangkok much better. Details here:

http://christianpfc....istory-and.html

 

But it takes all types to make the World, I suppose (I can be the most nerdy guy going sometimes myself, particularly when it comes to transport networks), so here is a web page that is more likely to gladden your heart:

 

http://www.nomadicno...-asia-rail-map/

 

It is a map created of all the railways that are proposed currently in South-East Asia, and what the network will  look like after they are built (in the unlikely event they ARE all built).

 

That indeed is a well-researched and presented article.

 

I finally read "My Bangkok - City of Spirits" and it's not much better than the book. Similar inaccuracies as in the book, and I don't like the writing style. Hadn't it been a subject I'm interested, I wouldn't have read to the end.



#8 whall

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:04 PM

I bet you could put out an interesting book! You have a fantastic start with your blog. At least a self published e-book. You ever think of it?

#9 ChristianPFC

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:00 PM

I'm thinking about writing a book

"The public transport in Thailand.

Volume 1: Bangkok Volume 2: Provinces

by Dr. ChristianPFC"

but that's probably not what you had in mind.

 

Well, I'm just reading a book about gay life in south-east Asian and found myself thinking "Boring. I could do better.".
 



#10 KhorTose

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:32 PM

I'm thinking about writing a book

"The public transport in Thailand.

Volume 1: Bangkok Volume 2: Provinces

by Dr. ChristianPFC"

but that's probably not what you had in mind.

 

Well, I'm just reading a book about gay life in south-east Asian and found myself thinking "Boring. I could do better.".
 

I  am sure you could and wish you would.  I know I would enjoy reading it.  Just don't make it about your relationships with Thai boys---talk about errors. :rolleyes:



#11 whall

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 03:45 AM

Id buy it!

#12 z909

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:10 AM

 

Cool to look at at think about the day when you get get a train all the way from Yangon to Saigon, via Bangkok...

 

There will be advantages & disadvantages from the extended rail network.  

 

Ease of travel will be a clear advantage.

Loss of character & more Chinese tourists are potential disadvantages.



#13 Alexx

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:22 PM

I've always enjoyed reading what Osborne has written. And I like his take on Bangkok, although or maybe just because it's quite different from mine. The man is often drunk, so I'm more than willing to forgive him the occasional error here and there.

#14 anddy

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:22 PM

This could have been a very cool, atmospheric article, yet in my view it fails to accomplish that. I, too, read the Book "Bangkok Days" and have to agree with Christian in not having liked it. Not for the factual errors which I neither noticed nor would have cared about, but for failing to achieve what forrestreid said the purpose was: "what he was trying to get at was the SOUL of Bangkok". The fictional series "Bangkok Eight" by John Burdett (5 books) does a WAY better job at that. 

 

Both the book and the article are incoherent gibberish that pretends to try to capture soul and atmosphere by overusing weird adjectives. There is no theme, no story, no leitmotiv, no nothing. Thus, both left me wondering: what, exactly, is it that he wants to tell me here? The article fares slightly better in the second half, but still I fail to see the point. 

 

But thanks to forrestreid for sharing anyway!



#15 Alexx

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 12:30 AM

I'd say his leitmotif is precisely that, being an incoherent drifter. I think that's quite charming, and Bangkok makes an excellent backdrop for such a character and his exploits.

#16 anddy

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:01 PM

that's true too, but guess I am not the right audience for that, then ;) 

 

Again, I personally liked the John Burdett series, as well as the "22 Walks in Bangkok" already mentioned by Christian, excellent book and highly recommended. It's not simply sight-seeing walks like in a travel guide as you might expect from the title, but gives in-depth background to context and history of buildings and entire neighborhoods. Highly informative and yet not boring at all.



#17 kokopelli

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:36 PM

I'm thinking about writing a book

"The public transport in Thailand.

Volume 1: Bangkok Volume 2: Provinces

by Dr. ChristianPFC"

 

 

Better Dr. Christian PhD

 

 



#18 ChristianPFC

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 12:14 AM

Dr. and PhD is the same, German and English abbreviation. I didn't want to put my family name here, so I used my artist's name. Another book I might write: "How I got rich from taking toilet paper from hotel rooms and picking up paper clips from the floor".



#19 reader

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:04 AM

You're definitely on to something there, Christian.

 

From CNBC

 

Warren Buffett is the third richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $75 billion. But the Oracle of Omaha still values a good deal.

 

In Bill and Melinda Gates' 2017 annual letter, which they addressed to longtime friend Buffett, Bill tells the story of a particularly economical lunch Buffett took him out for years ago.

 

"Remember the laugh we had when we traveled together to Hong Kong and decided to get lunch at McDonald's? You offered to pay, dug into your pocket, and pulled out … coupons!" writes Bill.

 

Buffett is a regular at McDonald's. On his five-minute drive to the office, which he's been doing for the past 54 years, he stops by the fast-food chain and, depending on how prosperous he's feeling, orders one of three items: two sausage patties for $2.61, a sausage, egg and cheese for $2.95 or a bacon, egg and cheese for $3.17.

 

He's not just thrifty when it comes to meals. The billionaire lives in the same home he bought in 1958 for $31,500, or about $260,000 in today's dollars.

 

Buffett is perfectly content being cheap. "My life couldn't be happier," he explained at his annual shareholder's meeting in 2014. "In fact, it'd be worse if I had six or eight houses. So, I have everything I need to have, and I don't need any more."

 

http://www.cnbc.com/...th-coupons.html



#20 vinapu

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Posted Yesterday, 10:03 AM

 Another book I might write: "How I got rich from taking toilet paper from hotel rooms and picking up paper clips from the floor".

that would be pure fiction

 

 

Buffett is perfectly content being cheap.

Eating at McDonald's not necessarily means he is cheap, perhaps simply he likes their fare.

 

Even extremely rich people are not under obligation to prefer 50 y.o single malt whisky over Hong Thong one from 7/11 bought for 139 baht







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