We were ready to get the hell out of Siam Paragon, as usual.
The cramped ground floor food hall was heaving with tourists and locals and young students and office workers on break. The roar of Thai-language conversation, and children screaming, and tourists blathering, and lunch trays clinking was fast reaching a suffocating pitch. There was nowhere to sit in the sprawling dining area, and navigating through these cattle-like herds at anything more than a sluggish shuffle was like playing a game of Twister while walking.
Patiently dealing with crowds like the ones typically found at Bangkok’s busiest megamall, particularly on weekend afternoons, is a skill one naturally develops over time while living here, but everybody has their limits. Having sufficiently accomplished what we came to Paragon to achieve–buy a new book, look for cheese bread, eat lunch–it was time to escape the feverish madness indoors and plunge back into the buzzsaw of whistles, buses, motorbikes, and candy-colored taxis that pump up the volume of the city’s orchestra of traffic rumble. That’s just how it is in Bangkok’s central commercial districts of Siam Square and Pratunam; I wouldn’t have it any other way (most of the time).
Something in the lower level just outside the entrance of Siam Ocean World drew our attention, though, as we rode the escalator up from the first to second floor. Something… odd. Something… not quite right. Something… inappropriate. Something… hilarious. We got to the second floor and turned right around to go back downstairs and further investigate.
My wife and I snapped photos through incredulous tears of juvenile laughter. We took turns posing with the bear, and snickered to ourselves when others posed with the bear. It was so revolting and egregious and amazing and, in a certain way, so perfectly Bangkok.
That poor, poor bear. She must have been so embarassed with nobody there to cover her up. I mean, really: no respectable bear would be caught dead in public wearing a red hankerchief around its neck.