“Bangkok, the city of fun where dollars and trademarks are exchanged with fake watches and true wounds, it’s here where the hungry of adventures come to appease their hunger”
Quote from the movie The Beach
Four-lane roads, luxury cars, towering skyscrapers and trendy shops. The modern part of Bangkok, exotic and cosmopolitan, has a seductive charm that draws visitors into a whirlwind of night entertainments, strobe lights, restaurants and lounge bars. The atmosphere is sparkling, dynamic, youthful. The city never sleeps, dazzles with its neon signs and its many attractions able to surprise even the most skeptical visitor. If you are looking for adventure, if only for a Hangover Part, you’re in the right place. But how many men have been seduced by the charm of Bangkok?
Prompted by this curiosity I visited the home of the most famous Westerner who lived in the city of Angels: Jim Thompson.
His story is particularly fascinating: american born in Greenville in 1906, after graduating in architecture worked for the Office of Stategic Services and later moved to Thailand, in Bangkok, where he built a house made up of a complex of teak houses in thai style. He revived the local silk industry and, according to various rumors, it was a secret agent hired by an unspecified foreign power. He vanished into nothingness in 1967 during a trip to Malaysia and despite the research carried out by the Malaysian government, of him was never found anything not even the corpse. To throw even more shadows on his death there is also the fact that in August of that year, his older sister was found murdered in her home in the US.
Located in Soi Kasemsan 2, near the busiest Rama Road1, the Thompson house with its reddish color and lush vegetation of the garden, looks like a small paradise among the gray buildings that populate the narrow and anonymous street. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm the property, now edited by James H.W. Foundation Thompson approved by the Royals of Thailand, can be visited by paying a ticket of 150 baht. What makes the house a tourist attraction,besides the fascinating history of its own, it’s its architectural structure that follows the canons of Thai traditions.
Passionate about art and archeology, Jim Thompson built the house with teak wood boards whose particularity is to stand up without the aid of any nail. Some of these wooden planks come from ancient palaces of the old capital of Ayutthaya and their reddish color repeats a representation that is often found in many old Thai buildings. Thompson decorated the house with furniture and objects of great value, moreover, being superstitious, he built a step in front of all the bedrooms to keep away evil spirits that, according to popular belief, crawl on the floor during the night to pass under the doors, disturbing sleep and bringing bad luck.Fearing bad luck, Thompson consulted the astrologers to find out which would be his favorable days. He followed these guidelines to build the house and started to live there. In his house’s office, in fact, there is an astrological study that indicates the years of misfortune and, as a macabre prophecy, on the calendar is marked the 1967. The year in which Jim Thompson disappeared in Malaysia.
Jim Thompson loved Bangkok, but Westerners who living there today, where spend their free time?
Many like to walk, jog or play sports in Lumpini Park, the central park of the city of Angels. A green lung in the gray of the metropolis. A peaceful refuge from the hustle and the daily grind. Walking through its broad avenues you will see gyms, theaters, areas equipped with games for children and artificial lakes with wooden gazebos and benches to sit and admire the view or read a book. The temptation to lie down beside to the small lakes will be strong, but be careful because in the Park live freely, komodo dragons: large lizards with a forked tongue that seen up close are scary.
Bangkok has also given me this adventure, the close encounter with a large reptile came out from the bench on which I would have liked to sit down: I renamed the komodo dragon “Jim” in onor of all those men came to Thailand to experience strong emotions, such as those that I have tried face to face with the big reptile.