After being kept awake in the train by two Brits discussing the virtues of Thai prostitutes over Thai girlfriends (many), as well as the virtues of girlfriends over prostitutes (few), we arrived at the Bangkok train station only an hour late. Not so bad, as this meant it only was 6:30am.
I still felt a bit groggy from the mix of Sangsom, 100 Pipers and Benmore from Wednesday night, but I was only getting so much respite. In the afternoon, I hooked up with Pascal, who was in Bangkok for a one day meeting and in the evening, I had dinner with Gayde, who runs a guesthouse in Chiang Mai but was off to China in the morning, followed by a good one-man-show at The Dubliner. Obviously, an Irish pub, but one which also sells Hoegaarden and Leffe.
A tonic for the soul
Last time I was in Bangkok, I checked out the Bangkok art and culture center, but then, the building was so new, it was still mostly empty.
Now, most of the floors (seven! Or was it eight?) are running exhibitions or have galleries on them. It really was a tonic of the soul to see so much modern art and quite a bit of it very decent, in one place.
It’s silk, Jim…
Back in the 1940s, an American bloke named Jim Thompson stayed in Bangkok after the end of the second world war. He liked it here, as do many expats. Perhaps not too suprisingly, after his wife did not want to move with Thompson to Thailand and divorced him, he never married again, but loved the Thai culture and, I’m sure, friendlyness.
Thompson’s claim to fame is being a major player in the revitalization of the Thai silk industry. His house, an amalgamation of a series of Thai style houses, many of them authentic, having been moved in from their original location around the country, is now a museum and a showcase for the company’s products. And also a popular tourist destination in Bangkok.
I had never been to the house as I tend not to be too impressed by famous people’s houses turned into museums, particularly if the famous person was just a capitalist. However, as the house is in the downtown area, I decided I’d give it a try today. There’s not much else worth seeing which I haven’t yet.
The place is not so bad, if a bit of a tourist trap, but worth the hour or so of entertainment you get for the 100 Baht entry fee.
Thompson disappeared without a trace, one day in 1967. Some assume he died in an accident, others think he might have been killed for mingling with the wrong people.
My next gadget
I also bumped into what probably will be my next gadget. I’ve been considering bying a new digital camera, a proper DSLR, for a few weeks now. I’m eyeing one of the midrange Canons, but the 500 – 600 euro price tag is a bit much to just go ahead and splurge. Then again, as you can see from my latest batch of photos, I would be helped by a more decent CCD and lense.
What I really would have wanted to buy was a 24″ BENQ LCD computer screen for a mere 150 euros! But, for my upcoming flight to South Africa, I’m already so overweight, I have no idea how I would also be able to lug a huge screen with me.
Then, somehow, I started wondering again about automatic geotagging of photos, which has fascinated me for a while.
As you might know, twice (1, 2) has my Garmin Etrex Legend been stolen. I’ve been thinking about replacing it with a new device, but I really only use them to keep track of my position, for example for this very blog, meaning I don’t really need all the fancy and cool functionalities these things nowadays come with.
So, I found out about data loggers. They’re like bluetooth GPS receivers which can store 10.000 or 20.000 points, waymarkers. Then, with some software, you can batch process your photos, adding geotags to each individual photo based on your location as registered by the data logger. Data loggers, not much more than a small GPS receiver, sell for some 60 euros here in Thailand.
Everyone loves a dose of the Doctor