Serpent Across the Mekong: Evening of the Soontra Beetroot-Passionfruit Juice

Opened with great fanfare two years ago, its scraggly palm trees still strapped to their training poles, Suvarnabhumi is already visibly falling apart, dark clouds of murk gathering on the only recently blemishless vast expanses of raw concrete. I navigate past the touts to the SHUTTLE BUS stop on the lower level, its Thai purity unblemished by any other words in heathen languages, and partake of a free tour of catering buildings, customs compounds and parking garages before being dropped off at the Transport Terminal, where lower-class riffraff such as myself can board ordinary public buses or avail themselves of taxis without paying surcharges.

35 bahts’ worth of Bus 551 whisks me to Bangkok, in the sense of an impatient chef attempting to whip up cream that he had forgotten to refrigerate, but the clots of traffic crowding around Rama IX’s fine establishments like the Colonze 4 Massage parlour (SPA SAUNA KARAOKE NO BRA) eventually dissolve and barely two hours later I’m at Paragon.

A Nikon camera show is in progress in one of the atria, with scruffy photojournalist types and even scruffier geek types fondling lenses the size and resolving power of telescopes while teenage models in princess dresses ignore them totally and chatter about makeup. I head up to my regular haunt, the True Cafe on the 4th floor, and position myself and a glass of ice tea under what looks like a giant perming machine, vague washes of color projected onto the wall behind me while an giant dot matrix display on another wall flips through True propaganda.


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