From Yangon to Bangkok: a couple of hours’ flight seemed to take us through one century. Yangon holds on to glorious memories of the high noon of the British Raj: the early twentieth century. Bangkok is a expressway from the airport which lands you in a snarl of stopped traffic: the early twenty-first century. Myanmar is a country struggling to build a tourism industry. Thailand is the tenth most visited country in the world.
We tried hard to do something different. Right in the middle of downtown, between tall malls full of the few tourists who are not in the famous beaches of Thailand is a very nice art space called the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre. We walked into a lovely group exhibition of black and white seascapes on the ground floor (a couple of examples in the photo above). Every tourism poster from Thailand tells us of the immense photographic talent that the country has. This was a quick summary of that talent: beautiful photos by a dozen or so men and women. I bought the catalogue, and seriously considered buying a large print.
We took the escalator up. The open galleries overlooking the central atrium were showing a retrospective of the life of the late king of Thailand. The country was still in the official mourning period, and the new king had not yet taken office. The series of galleries reminds you a little of New York’s Guggenheim Museum, except that you have to take an escalator between floors. At one end of each floor, near the escalators was a cluster of shops: art, food and more generalized shopping. The fourth floor has a wonderful ice cream studio (to coin a new phrase) which I’ve written about before. BACC is a wonderful space, and I would love to go back.