24 July 2010

Best City Award- Best Irony

Of all the cities in the world Bangkok wins the Best City Award and I can clearly smell the fish. The panel of judges must have had the best night of their lives away from their families with the girls who could blow whistle from their bottom. Otherwise no fool would pick up on that filthy thief’s city.

Even I heard so heavenly about that city from the Bhutanese who had been there but now I wonder if they haven’t see Jaigon enough. The streets are dusty and cramped with noisy people and outdated vehicles, with no traffic rules applied. Buildings are long in need of repaint. Taxi drivers and tuktuk drivers are the most stubborn people I ever encountered; we have to go to places they want or pay ten times. Every shop expects you to bargain no lesser than in JB, except for some big malls. For last many months red shirt filled up the streets in protest against the government, which led violence and bloodshed. Do we call such city the best city?

Why do I call it a thief’s city? Many Bhutanese who have been there must know that we are the easy prey and many might have been among the unfortunate travelers who fall victim of the fake Bhutan-enthusiast foreigners. They are not original Thai people but sadly they now become part unless they are kicked out. They typically start their conversation by asking you,

“Where are you from sir/ madam?”

And we are proud of saying, “I am from Bhutan.”

That makes him excited because he knows we come there with lot of money and most of all we are kind to strangers.

“Oh, I am going to Bhutan this week, can you help me with some information?” By then he would have cornered you but we agree with any sort of behavior when it comes to foreigners.

“May I have a look at your currency?” Here he means to look at your fat wallet, and any normal Bhutanese would kindly open their purse and show them our currency. During this split second moment he would touch your purse to push down the ngultrum note you took out and acknowledge you and walk away.

Back in the hotel room no matter how you calculate a few of your hundred dollar bills are missing and then you will realize that you are robbed in the broad day light.

How do I know all this? Experience! Luckily I was walking with only Thai Baht. But three of my friends weren’t as lucky. That evening some of the experienced friends told us that it was common but they were late. After reaching back here I heard one group from my village suffered the same fate. But nobody wants to share their embarrassing experience thus leading to further incidences. Simple rule: Bhutanese should keep aside our kindness while walking in Bangkok, the best city!

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