A different kind of dinosaur

5 04 2016

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A few years ago, while researching my book on Bangkok, I stumbled into the self-contained little enclave of Washington Square, a dusty twilight world cut off from the rest of the city and populated by all kinds of strange middle-aged American men, former Viets and intelligence agents (or claiming to be) knocking around in the enclave’s gogo bars. It struck me then that they were a kind of dinosaur, and that the real estate they occupied , right on Sukhumvit, next to the Emporium, was too valuable to remain as their habitat forever.

And sure enough, by my last visit, the area’s old gogo bars had been razed in the midst of a huge redevelopment. They had become extinct.

But what was to replace them? In a twist surreal even by Bangkok’s comic book standards, the area has been redeveloped as a “Dinotopia” themepark of robotic reptiles on a fake volcano, clearly visible as you glide by on the Skytrain. Its mind boggling. The park opened this month, preceded by a cunning PR stunt which involved driving a roaring T-rex down Sukhumvit.

The dinosaur park is set to be a new attraction for the expanded “Emquartier” Emporium mega-complex, which will also add (yet) another luxe mall on the site.

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