Aging Khao San Road Bangkok, Thailand Southeast Asia Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Anyway, I think about it, I would say I am in an older Hippie Backpacker Ghetto; Khao San Road is not the new one on the block. Khao San Road is now an institution with the world class backpacker, it is old hat, there are backpacker here as old as 65 years old, however fortunately for the girl watching, the mean age is closer to 23-24, with some jumps to 30.
I am the old man of backpacking, I think my eyes have been altered, the naïve Indiana boy has been removed, and the I know the world has been inserted. It is not a good feeling, I like to be USA, Indian naïve, it was less jaded and I made simple assessments of people. I did not look at their body form, their nose, the way a person walk and say, - European, probability the Netherlands. -
Last night I was with Craig of Travelvice.com, and to girls would hump up three-four bags per girl. Craig astutely said to the girls, - Hey, Rain Covers. - More or less saying, put on your rain covers. I piped up, - You have the wrong sandals one, why? -
The one for sure was Israeli, and they are known to always have rain covers on their bags, it is some national backpacker rule, a backpack has a rain cover. The other one spoke French at me, because the other day I forgot and said, - Ca Va -
Naïve is good, even when I have to try to be naïve. Khao San Road is freak city, full of frumpy young people, not in good shape, to fat for their age, and all have tattoos. It is the place where a person without a tattoo does not fit in, I am drastically conservative here.
The idea of Khao San Road, the Center of the Backpacker Universe is lack of clarity; it is a place where people go when they are not sure where to go.
I am a little worried about Khao San Road, the big boys by development attrition are tearing down all the backpacker ghetto building with wooden walls, and replacing them with four story, AC, TV, and sterile hotels, small restaurant in the bottom and boring. Not a rites of passage hotel, a tourist hotel. There is a larger than belief building going up on the walk as you leave the Wat and go towards the Burger King. It will remove a 50-meter section of the street and place in the modern world, maybe I will be walking by a Mall, and the clutter will be replaced.
This is the problem with good Backpacker Ghettos, the renovate and make modern and the flavor changes, and slowly people have lost the right to say, - I was there. -
They have to admit, I was just in a nice hotel in the area, I did not suffer, and I presently am in a new hotel, the new Four Sons Chain close to the institution called the Peachy, next to the new 7-11. AC, remote control TV, Hot Water Tank, a key card that demands to be used to turn on the electricity, signs saying 150 to bring a Thai girl in the room, they use the word Guest, but I know they mean Thai girl. Rules and more rules, and they know how what the rules should be.
Housekeepers, that clean, I am in a small Chain, the new one on the area, and the successor to the Sawasdee group. The Four Sons has about 5 or 6 in the area, about the same as the Sawasdee chain, and then the Siam One or Two or Three, etc.
Take done freak and put up a chain hotel, take a freak and give them what they want, a nice room in a place where they can pretend to be somebody, however they have lost the plot, they are not unique. When all the people are freaked, then freaked is normal, and old hat. The social norms of Khao San Road are not being an individual; you are not just the sheep.
I found a WIFI hotel for 390 a night, about 200 Baht more than I like to pay, however, I am a business, and I need to do some business. It is the first hotel in the area that I have found that is properly priced with WIFI. I think there are at least 4 rooms where WIFI will work in the room, I HOPE. WIFI is a terrible choice for internet in room, a good Ethernet wire word ten times better in the concrete world of a hotel, and a coffee shop is good for WIFI. I am semi-happy, it is more the old expat area of Khao San, where there are fewer tourists, and they walk slow as Wade says. A freak walking fast, with a reservation in pocket, and an itinerary is not free, they are on schedule.
Goodbye to the ghetto, say hello to modern word. Taking down paradise and putting up a mall, then saying it is mom and pop. Chain hotels will soon rule Khao San Road, maybe time to find a new Ghetto where I can get dirty, be outside.
I do wander to find new place to wonder. Someone will give me a map, Alex Garland knows this.