Our last day in Bangkok may not have been particularly unique, but was a good way to finish up a memorable trip. A spot of market shopping, a wander around megamall central in Siam, a few rides on the Skytrain, just as many arguments with tuk tuk drivers, a phad thai, a Singha beer and an overdue haircut for Paul. And plenty of tears at the airport.
Compare, compare, compare – that’s what I did in Southeast Asia. I compared the food, the economies, the attitude of tuk-tuk drivers, the amount of dogs on the street, and the earrings on offer at markets. I compared the temples with the rest of Asia – “ooh, that’s got to be a Chinese one”, “that looks more Thai than Vietnamese” and “surely that’s Hindi not Buddhist”. But most of all you can’t help but compare the whole region to the luxuries you take for granted at home.
But with bad also comes good – if the children selling books and bracelets at Angkor go on to oust the Cambodian People’s Party, the country’s in very good hands. Cambodians speak better English than most of Europe, pretty much all of Japan, and hey, even plenty of Aussies, and that can’t count for nothing.
Thailand may be called ‘the Land of Smiles’ but that’s like saying that one of your children is cuter than the other. Vietnam’s are more cheeky, Cambodia’s are a little shy, Singapore’s are confident and Malaysia’s are just like the country – a mixture of them all.