Sri Lanka is beautiful and its people are beautiful. It is an island nation that deserves properity after two decades of civil war.
But I found it wasn’t good value for money. Accomm is very expensive, given the options on offer in that part of the world. The previous government wooed Russian tourists (no visa fees etc) to the point that they now soak up the best accomm (that’s only smart).
“The motorbike has killed Asia,” says my well-travelled mate, The Guv.
I agree… almost. The motorbike, or specifically, its polluting exhaust, is killing Asia. The big, beautiful, ancient Asian cities that once were crisscrossed by bicycles and rickshaws, are now being choked by the fume spewing motorbikes and tuk tuks. Literally.
Who do we believe?
News Corp’s – and Murdoch’s friend – McCrann, or the ABC, Fairfax, Crikey and Nine Network?
Australia’s media has a “crisis of credibility”.
As a 30-year journalist, including 23 years at News Corp, I lay the blame at the feet of News Corp and the Liberal Party.
The solution: bring back a media culture of impartiality.
I found the centre of Bangkok’s money laundering operation, deep in the back alleyways of Chinatown…
Seriously, the Thai people are meticulous about cleanliness and hygiene.
In Talat Noi (Chinatown), which is not so much a tourism hub but where locals work, eat, shop and live, I saw them scrubbing their pots and woks at the start AND finish of the day, and constantly sweeping clean the footpaths and laneways.
The pride the parents have in their children’s school uniforms is something to behold.
Air pollution, however, can give a feeling of general dirtiness.
More on that next…
It’s my last day in Bangkok so I decide to lash out for lunch and try the seafood that Bangkok’s Talad Noi Chinatown is famous for.
I settle on Hua Seng Hong restaurant. A temporary kitchen on the street front caters for takeaway, and appears to specialise in steamed dumplings but has a variety of options.
It’s a warm, sweaty one-hour walk in the early evening from my hotel, through the alleyways of the north-east flank of Bangkok’s Chinatown, to the Patpong Night Market.
I have chosen a good accomm location again, for this second part of my visit to Bangkok.
River View Guest House is next to the impressive Chao Phraya River, deep in the historic, old, Chinatown area. As I write this I can hear ceremonial singing in the ornate Chinese Buddhist temple directly below.