The smell of the poo, the grittiness of the air

Bangkok is mostly not glitz and glamor. There are homes for bazillionaires, of course, and costly hotels. But even the wealthy must absorb the fragrance of the semi-open sewers as they pick their way along perilous city streets.

The contrast is stark along the Chao Phraya. Snooty hotels perch next to homes where working families have made their lives for generations. There are plenty of hotels, but more riverfront is occupied by families and temples.

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