Debating tournaments and touristing are not exactly a perfect match. Both take up so much time and energy that one is usually left to have to choose between one or the other. Thankfully, I was able to find myself a free afternoon during TWSDC 2012 in which I was able to wander freely around the shopping center of Bangkok. For me, aimless directionless random wander is the best way to see a new place, you get to notice all sorts of weird things without necessarily missing out on the traditional touristy spots. I started at Siam Paragon where we were having lunch down in the food court. I had been told that the mall was massive, but somehow it didn’t seem that way from the outside. Not to mention that I almost didn’t realize that the podium entrance was in fact elevated above ground level, maybe it just seemed that way from the BTS platform. It took me nearly half an hour to wander through all the floors, mostly without going inside too many shops and still managed to miss large parts of the place. It says something when one shopping mall has 3 cinemas and almost every type, category and sort of food one could imagine. They even had enough space for some Swiss-Thai exhibition at the time.
I eventually decided I had seen enough and wandered out, across the road and passed by an outdoor shrine with literally a gazillion zebras just placed on the floor surrounding it. Not sure what the significance or meaning of it is at all. Someone pointed out that there was a building that looked like a coke-bottle from above, which turned out to be called ‘digital gateway’. It wasn’t the most impressive digital place, but I did manage to run into some celebrities I presume, since they were surrounded by hoards of people. Still have no idea who they were though. There were some nice small stores in the place where I wandered, I also happened upon ‘Tuna Pie’, as opposed to Apple Pie in Thailand McDonalds. Also, the receipts when printed read McThai, which I found funny. I was quite thankful to also chance upon some musical performance or competition of sorts outside the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre. At least I was able to hear some presumably local/folk music prior to my departure.
As I continued northwards across a canal, I noticed a ‘Anti-money laundering office’ which seemed to have an entire 20+ story tower to itself. Not that this is a particularly interesting piece of information, I just found it quite odd they’d have a tower to themselves. Unless of course every office has the same sort of facilities available.
I’m not sure what exactly the purpose of this is, but somehow almost all of the major commercial buildings I walked into had a very specific entrance and exit. All those entering had to go through a metal detector and were directed so that they didn’t mingle with people leaving. The odd thing for me was how common the metal detector was, but also how under use it often was.
All in all not a bad time in Thailand, although it’d have been good if I had gone towards the Grand Palace and the surrounding areas. Still managed to get a photo from the cruise though.