BANGKOK DAYS: A Sojourn in the Capital of Pleasure

bangkok daysLAWRENCE OSBORNE

AKA: Bar Bouncing in Bangkok

DAYS awoke in me my longing for the exotic East. In 1990 I spent a couple of weeks in Bangkok exploring the temples, the side streets, the canals and the erotic. DAYS makes me want to return. Osborne walks the streets of Bangkok, sometimes exploring the culture, but mostly going to bars. Which makes this book uneven at best. It is best when describing cultural Thailand. He has interesting insights into the Buddhist interpretation of transgender ‘kathoeys‘ or girly-boys. He muses on how easy it is for Westerners to remake themselves in the East, as did the 19th-century English schoolteacher Anna Leonowens did when she tutored the royal children of Siam and fashioned herself into a literary figure of the King and I. Bangkok serves as an existential crossroads for a cast of British, Australian and Spanish expatriates who are haphazardly searching for and running away from responsibilities trying to find themselves and have pleasure.

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