Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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Bangkok, Thailand is my home town - I've written about it a few times in the past, told the story of my Dad and my upbringing in Southeast Asia. I speak Thai of course, my kids are learning Thai, my wife cooks me Thai food two or three times a week and I have a Thai Jungle Room in my house; these days I feel more Thai than ever before. I love Thailand - S.L.

The Grand Palace at night, Bangkok Thailand

I lived in Bangkok 1970-77, graduated 12th grade at the International School in '77 and hung around awhile until it became counterproductive. I didn't want to leave. I eventually went back with the Army - multiple tours of duty when I was stationed in Okinawa 1988-1992. Those were amazing years - I earned my star & wreath on my master parachutist badge leading a stick of Thai Border Patrol Police paratroopers on a jump over Haad Yai, South Thailand - giving the jump commands in Thai.

My Alma Mater

The real name of Bangkok is Krungthep - the th is a hard "t" just like the Th in Thailand. Everybody calls it Krungthep. If a Thai asks me 'Where did you live in Thailand? Where are you from?' I answer "Krungthep." Bangkok was the name of a small fishing and trading village on the site of where Krungthep is now. Bang means village and kok is a kind of a plant bearing olive-like fruit.

Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

The full name is actually "Krung thep mahanakorn amorn Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Pop Nopparat Ratchatani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasatan Amorn Piman Awatarn Sathit Sakkathatiyat Witsanukarmprasit"

Translates into English :

"City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra's Behest"

If you have trouble pronouncing it, here's the hit song by superstar Thai Pop Group, "Asanee Wasan" who have set the name to a catchy tune sung like a traditional Thai song:

Nowadays almost every kid in Thailand knows this song. I'm "Dek 'Thep" (Bangkok kid) but I'm still working on it.



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