Are you ready to ruuuuuuuumble?
No? Maybe? How about read about a theoretical rumble between two capital cities I’ve lived in? Which just means I’m going to tell you my opinion about both of them?
Yes? Okay, then!
City Population: 9,100,000
Metro Population: 11,971,000
Major Airports: 2
Stray Dogs: 17,000,000
Average Weather: Cannot be recorded as thermometers consistently melt during the hot season.
Strengths: Food, Cost of Living, Cheap Massages
Weaknesses: Sewage System, Heat, Dating Scene (yeah, yeah, pipe down, expat gentlemen in Thailand; clearly that does not apply to you. Get your own blog.)
City Population: 601,783
Metro Population: 5,580,000
Major Airports: 3
Stray Republicans: Unfortunately, they roam the streets and you are not allowed to round them up and do mean things to them. BUT you are allowed to lure them into secluded places with the promise of proof that Obama faked his birth certificate and then make fun of them, hopefully until they cry.
Average Degree Level: PhD in economics AND business AND twelve dead languages. And a master’s in literature. And law.
Strengths: Museums, Working Sewage System, Trader Joe’s
Weaknesses: People Kinda Stuffy Sometimes, Taxis, Has Seasons
Bangkok: 2 DC: 1
DC is a strong contender here, as it has some of my favorite restaurants anywhere in the world: Jaleo, Zaytinya, and Oyamel for international tapas; Dona Azucena for pupusas; Pizza Movers for, um, pizza; Hank’s Oyster Bar for—yeah, oysters; Lebanese Taverna for…okay, you get the drift.
But Bangkok…come on, Bangkok kicks DC’s ass in the food department. BKK is lacking in Mexican, Ethiopian, and good pizza, but everything else has clearly been training hard on steroids to get TOTALLY DELICIOUS. Plus, the fact that you can get a fab meal for a single dollar in Bangkok puts it well over the winning edge.
Still, DC is a world-class dining city, so it gets a nod here.
Bangkok: 1 DC: 1
People! If you meet the right ones, they make your life better. If you meet the wrong ones, they bring drama (‘I’d like to talk about the state of our friendship.’) and misery (‘Yeah…I’m dumping you.’) to your life. I’ve met the right ones in both cities, thank god. Okay, fine, I’ve met the wrong ones, too, but I’ve stuck with the right ones, and that’s what matters. Both Bangkok and DC attract interesting, intelligent, and super fantastic people who want to be friends with me.
Bangkok: 0 DC: 0
You know what, BKK and DC? CUSTOMER SERVICE FAIL! Both of you!
Ever been to a CVS in the DC area? Ever been to a mall in Thailand? No? Let me recreate some scenes for you.
Scene 1–Washington, DC Area CVS
- Me: Hi, where can I find band-aids?
- CVS Employee: *rolls eyes, points to an aisle over that way*
Scene 2–Bangkok Area Mall
- Me, in Thai: Oh, um, excuse me…
- Thai Mall Employee: *zzzzzzzzzzzzz* (Yes, that is the sound of somebody sleeping.)
Bangkok: 0 DC: 0
Jackassery abounds in both cities. Nobody wins!
In fact, we all lose.
Except for the taxi drivers.
Bangkok: 1 DC: 0
Okay, a really expensive ride in a taxi in Bangkok is, like, $10. A really cheap ride for a taxi in DC is, like, $15. Screw that. Taxis in Bangkok FTW!
Bangkok: 0 DC: 1
Bangkok gets 0 points because there is ALWAYS a traffic jam in the city. ALWAYS. I got caught in a traffic jam at 2:30 in the morning a couple of weeks ago (and now my mother is going to ask me what I was doing out at 2:30 in the morning–I was helping the orphans, Mom. Helping the orphans!). The DC area has terrible gridlock during rush hour, but it is entirely possible to get across the city at other times with absolutely no trouble. DC wins.
Bangkok: 1 DC: 0
The Metro in DC is severely limited in how often it runs and where it goes. The escalators and elevators are constantly out of order and the trains themselves break down constantly. The Metro buses stop literally every block and are either very late or very early. There are some commuter trains that run limited hours during the week. Aaaaaand…those are your options for public transportation.
Bangkok has the BTS (above-ground Sky Train), the MRT (subway), the Airport Link, buses (free, not free, air-conditioned, not air-conditioned), and canal taxi boats. I feel like I’m missing something. The canal boats were a recent revelation for me—I can get halfway across town for 9 baht (30 cents) and no traffic? Sign me up—I do not even care about the disgusting canal water splashing everywhere. Also, people complain about the BTS breaking down here, but believe me, it is nothing compared to Metro breakdowns.
I do have a fond spot for the DC Metro, though, and I’m not sure why. Still, for sheer quantity of public transportation choices, BKK is the clear frontrunner.
Score So Far
Bangkok: 5 Washington, D.C.: 2
It’s still anybody’s game, people! I am going to say, though, tomorrow (or whenever I get around to it) I’m going to tackle the Dating Scene and the Sewage System, so things might not fare quite as well for Bangkok in the future…