Theroux in Southeast Asia: Revisiting The Great Railway Bazaar

Yeah, that place out 'there'. Anything not really Cambodia related should go here.
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Kung-fu Hillbilly
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Theroux in Southeast Asia: Revisiting The Great Railway Bazaar

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:14 pm


John McMahon
20 May 2019

By the time he arrived in Southeast Asia he was travel weary and facing five countries either involved in or just adjacent to the America’s Vietnam War.

"He took a chance, boarding the train with no bags or passport and in the end was escorted by three soldiers and a railway security officer, there and back to Maymyo, where he was promised that if he ever attempted it again there would be trouble."

"Theroux vividly described his trip south through Thailand from Laos, where he saw devastation and dined on lamb with an out of work prince, dreaming on the page of leaping from the train and taking up residence in a stilted wooden house beside a paddy field where he could stretch out and nap in the shade. Once he arrived in Bangkok though his attitude changed."

"Theroux revelled in the grand names of the trains he took across the continent, some of them in relative comfort, others that rattled and crept, powered by coal and wood, a few still using steam but with titles like The Grand Trunk Rapid, The Early Bird, The Big Sky, and thus he rolled into Bangkok on the Golden Arrow Express and left on the Butterworth Special Limited heading south."

"Theroux’s descriptions of Vietnam are a study in contrast. His hosts in Saigon referred to as Cobra I and Cobra II were most likely diplomats who gave him access to the still existing high society of the city, spending their days at the Cercle Sportiff “where Chinese, Vietnamese and Frenchmen played games on ten acres of lawn.” Their evenings were spent eating in French restaurants and afterward there were dark nightclubs with cocktails and lounge singers where Cobra I would mockingly call out “beleaguered Saigon” over the loud music"

Full ... ay-bazaar/
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