I had the opportunity to travel to Bangkok, Thailand in April 1998 to work on a draft of the XSL specification. It was a tremendously enjoyable experience. We completed the work we set out to do, so I can say that it was a successful trip ;-), the food was outstanding, and the sights were magnificent.
Traffic in Bangkok is a little bit congested in exactly the same way that interstellar space is a little bit empty. During rush hour, it can take 45 minutes or more to go a few blocks, and I've been told that there are intersections that are so bad it is literally faster to get out of one cab, walk past the offending intersection, and get into another cab.
One solution to this problem is to take a motorcycle taxi instead of a car. Motorcycle taxis are cheap and fast. The key to their speed is the fact that they will negotiate rapidly between cars if there is sufficient clearance. Sufficient clearance might be loosely defined as an inch or so on each side of your knees. I was first introduced to motorcycle taxis in the wee hours of the morning. At night, after a few drinks, the experience was a little disorienting. During rush hour and stone cold sober, the experience was, uhm, exhilarating. Especially when the bike was negotiating between cars speeding in opposite directions.
The markets that I saw in Bangkok were simply incredible. An almost indescribable jumble of fish, produce, meats, baked goods, foodstuffs I could hardly recognize and some that I absolutely couldn't, erzats American goods, paper products, china, glasswear, silks, and a hundred-thousand other things.
There are literally tens of thousands of temples in Bangkok. Buddhist temple architecture in Bangkok is glorious. Brightly colored tile walls, tall jeweled and golden spires, and fantastic statuary is just the beginning.
The temples are gorgeous inside, too.
I really love some of the statuary.
In the course of updating the photo links in April 2012, I discovered that this photo never made it into the essay. I don't know why.
I Want my MTV!