Whenever I'm asked why I like Bangkok, I quickly mention my friends in that city. It was easy to meet other ex-pats in Bangkok. There are many guys there from my generation as well; retirement money goes a long way in Thailand. While some of the rural parts of Thailand can still accurately be described as an emerging economic region, the capital, Bangkok, is prosperous and modern, very first world. So it's a modern, inexpensive city of friendly folks containing a congenial set of western dudes with positive attitudes. What's not to like?
I noticed when describing my Thai social life to inquisitive state-side friends and family, I would often mention Guido. He's actually a new acquaintance for me. But he is a colorful guy in city that has a reputation as home to many colorful folks.
There are legends of former American CIA agents that decided to remain in Bangkok after the Vietnam War ended in 1975. They opened bars and invented the bawdy nightlife the city has become known for, or so the stories go. There's a story for every bar. And the Thais - who no doubt really own the nightclubs - are happy to embellish the legends. If you listen to the hype, Bangkok is filled with hustling, American wheeler dealers that converted their counter culture lifestyle into a party town fortune.
Well Guido is not one of them. Guido and my circle of friends are boring tea totalers. But Guido still qualifies as colorful. I first met him at a gathering of guys for dinner. Guido was recovering from a leg fracture he sustained in a motor bike accident. He was joking about how the cane and his limp were a guarantee to a seat on the MRT. I liked him right away.
Guido was a feature film set dresser with a long list of films to his credit. "Precious" (2009) and "Thirteen Going on Thirty" (2004) are amongst the many movies where Guido's sets are featured. When I asked him how he wound up in Bangkok, Guido said he once did a film with Oliver Stone set in Bangkok. They had a fun time partying whilst filming and Guido decided it looked like a good place to retire. Currently Guido lives in Bangkok and is married to a local gal who now owns a restaurant.
|Guido on his latest set|
Under Guido's influence, the restaurant has become an oasis of New York style deli food that is hard to find anywhere in Southeast Asia. I must assume Asians do not care for crispy bacon because it is nearly impossible to find around these parts. Not so in Guido's "New Yorker Cafe" steps away from the MRT's bustling "Asoke" station.
"Crispy like thin glass" chuckled Guido.
And he serves all day breakfast, god love em.
So if you are in Bangkok and have a hankering for good New York food, drop in and tell Guido I said hello.