Author’s Note: I wrote this piece after one of my trips to Bangkok. It was written just a few hours before heading to the airport to come back to the states. This particular experience was unique because unlike my other trips to Bangkok, I would not be staying in a Muay Thai camp and their usually very minimal and for lack of a better word, spartan accommodations. During this trip I actually had the privilege to stay at the very luxurious and legendary Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. The company I was doing some work for at the time put me up at this breathtaking hotel with all expenses paid so the experience was needless to say very different than my previous trips to Thailand.
It’s about 8 pm, I’m sitting at my hotel room desk contemplating what I am going to do tonight, this being my final night in Bangkok.
Once again, I took the 3 leg, almost 30 hour journey from Miami to Dallas, Dallas to Tokyo, and Tokyo to Bangkok. Once again I arrived to the sweltering heat of this Kingdom that feels like home, and once again I was bewitched, enchanted, and awestruck by this mysteriously intoxicating city.
As I write these words I’m sitting at a finely crafted wooden desk in my very chic and expensive room at one of Southeast Asia’s most celebrated colonial era hotels, The Oriental – Bangkok. Room service seems to be active 24/7. With absolutely dedicated customer service that borders on overkill, it seems as if every time I leave my room, even if only to have a quick breakfast or lunch, room service sneaks into my room to tidy up. I have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne -given to me upon my arrival, and for which I haven’t found the time nor occasion to drink- put on ice daily and again neatly placed into its sterling silver bucket. Pants, shorts, and shirts that had been strewn throughout my room just moments ago, are once again neatly folded or hung in the closet.
I am currently snacking on two fruit cocktail shooters made from Thailand’s freshest local fruit, evidently the five star hotels’ idea of the appropriate turn down service treat, which I have to say is much better than those silver and green wrapped chocolate mints given in most hotels stateside. Yes, I’m definitely not going to complain, this luxury is pretty much undeserved. However,…I will take it.
However, even with all this luxury, my mind is just consumed by the sadness that in just a few hours I am leaving once again. The 30 hour trip halfway around the world to get here seems like it was just yesterday and once again here I am getting ready to go “home”. The view of Bangkok from my 14th story hotel window only serves as further torture at this moment. The lights of the city below and the moonlight reflecting off the Chao Praya are beckoning me, begging me to stay. Or is it me begging? Yes, it’s probably me.
This is Thailand. It is home.
It feels more like home to me now than my real home. Every time I am back home, I am longing to go “home”. Bangkok consumes my thoughts, its klongs and sois the subject of every dream. I re-walk the streets of the city, taking in the smell of the various food stalls that line each thoroughfare. I long for Yaowarat’s neon lights, the hustle and bustle of its many oversized seafood restaurants with each locale having waiters wearing the restaurants designated color.
I sit here writing this, because even though I am here, I already miss it. I know that the saddening hour when I must board the plane that takes me away from here, is rapidly approaching. I fear that if I go out and enjoy myself now, the enjoyment will cause for the hours to pass rapidly and that moment to come sooner. If I stay here, looking at this clock, while staring at the lights of the city I love, time will slow down…hopefully stop.
Bangkok is truly intoxicating and habit forming. It’s no less addictive than the Yaa Baa that currently plagues Bangkok’s poorer sectors. I have been here many times before and still can’t seem to get my fix, or feed my hunger. This lovely obsession with Muay Thai brought me here, and now the city and country itself want to keep me here. When I go home, it’s constantly going to call for me. And like a junky looking to score his next high, I’m going to come crawling back, foaming at the mouth. However, right now, the time for talk is over.
The lights beckon, the girls call out into the night, and the streets scream for my presence. There is one last dish of Grapow Moo waiting for me, one last bottle of Singha or Beer Chang to quench this thirst, and one…last night in Bangkok to exprience. Not even this room at one of the most luxurious of Southeast Asian colonial era remnants, a tribute to years long since past, is going to keep me from this last night and these last few hours. Tonight I get lost in the sweet chaos of Bangkok once again. Don’t wait up.
See you when I see you.