Todd: I'm here with Natalie and she is working in Bangkok. And how long have you been here?
Natalie: I've been here about 10 months.
Todd: It's interesting to hear your thoughts on Bangkok because I was an English teacher here over 20 years ago from 1994 to 1998. It was my first teaching job and Bangkok was very different then than it is now. Now I would say it's a pretty amazing cosmopolitan city. Could you agree?
Natalie: Yeah, that's part of the reason why we chose it. My partner and I traveled for about a year and a half and we said, "Okay, now let's live somewhere." So we decided to move to Bangkok because it has this great balance of you're still in Southeast Asia, so it still feels like it's developing, it's on its way to something, perhaps what we see Japan or China as now, but it's not quite there yet. And also you can get all the modern conveniences that you could possibly need here in the city. It's really well connected, so it feels like a regular metropolitan city, but at the same time it still feels like you're living in Southeast Asia, which is really cool.
Todd: It has done an amazing job of one becoming this just bustling, beautiful cosmopolitan paradise. I mean, the skyline was not here 25 years ago. So all the buildings that they've built or it's just amazing. So now it almost rivals Hong Kong or New York and years ago they didn't have that. So in terms of the city planning, it's just phenomenal what they've done. But also, like you said, they've kept the kind of original cultural vibe to the city-
Todd: Which is pretty amazing.
Natalie: You have different neighborhoods that you can live in. So there is the, I guess a main artery of Bangkok is the Skytrain. So we call it the BTS. And this a, I guess what they were considered to be high speed and transportation rail system that goes right through the heart of Bangkok. So a lot of the neighborhoods that I would talk about kind of populated around the Skytrain. So you will have pockets of Bangkok that will feel very Thai. So they will be further out on the BTS Skytrain. But you can still get to the heart of Bangkok where all the malls are, or perhaps where all the business areas are within, I don't know, 20 minutes. And obviously with it being in Southeast Asia it's still really cheap.
Natalie: You can go way out into the areas that are super Thai. You get amazing street food, you'll see very few tourists and then you can, within 20 minutes you can be in, say the Japanese area, which is more expensive and it has a lot of Western restaurants and obviously Japanese restaurants. 20 minutes later you can be in the tourist center where you'll see all the malls and perhaps the more city side of Bangkok. So it's very accessible.
Todd: Yeah, it's interesting. How have you been to Dubai?
Natalie: I haven't, no.
Todd: What's interesting is Dubai and Bangkok have almost the exact same developmental model. So what they did is they built a nice train line, an elevated train and then along the train they built a bunch of shopping malls and condos and they've built a world class airport and made it a hub for travel to other areas. And even though Dubai and Bangkok they're so different culturally, it's quite interesting to see that economically they're kind of thriving on the same model. They get lots of international travel, they have a lot of things for tourists to do when they go there. They get a lot of people now that want to retire or maybe live there.
Natalie: Yeah. The people that I speak to you about that they're saying the same thing. Bangkok is almost the center of Southeast Asia. You can get pretty much anywhere in the world on a long haul flight. So you can fly to the UK directly from Bangkok, which is insane. You don't have to stop anywhere. If you want to go to Vietnam from somewhere in the West, you have to stop in Bangkok for the most part. There are very few direct flights. And you can get to the likes of Japan and China within just five or six hours.
This just bustling, beautiful cosmopolitan paradise
Bustling means very noisy and engergetic. Notice the following:
- New York is a bustling city 24/7.
- Young people often want to move to a bustling city.
A main artery of Bangkok is the Skytrain.
Here, artery means a main tranportation channel to move people. The artery is a tube in the heart for moving blood. Notice the following:
- The highway is the artery of the shipping industry.
- The Internet is now the main artery for most information in the world.
the heart of
You can still get to the heart of Bangkok.
The heart of something is the significant part. Notice the following:
- Paris is the heart of France.
- The downtown area is the heart of the city.
They're kind of thriving on the same model.
When you thrive on something, you flourish off of it. It gives you confidence, passion, or excitment. Notice the following:
- He thrives on pressure situation.
- She thrives on speaking in public.
They've built a world class airport and made it a hub for travel
A hub is the center part of a wheel. Here it refers to being the center of many air traffic routes. Notice the following:
- Passengers often need to transfer flights at a major hub.
- Incheon airport in Korea is a major hub in Asia.
you can fly to the UK directly from Bangkok, which is insane.
The word insane often refers to something being very impressive or shocking. It can refer to both positive and negative reactions. Notice the following:
- He paid $50 for his car, which is insane. (positive)
- She worked twelve hours without a break, which is insane. (negative)