I’m here with my host, Jinda, and her Taiwanese friend Fiona. Fiona wants to be my girlfriend, is the message that I hear through the Jinda the translator. I tell her to join the queue and attempt to pull off the most smug expression anyone has ever administered to a face. Needless to say, I remain single. We all met earlier today at lunch and then went to the 4 face Buddha where Celia, who has now left us, prayed for a new job.
The word ‘aww’ was invented for places like this. Jinda said it’s like heaven, but if that’s true, then it’s a heaven for bears. Beside me is a bear with one arm, a casualty of the fairly local war in Vietnam which happened a few decades ago when many bears were on the American front line. There’s quaint American diner music and the whole place is pale wood, making it seem like the inside of a wooden crate.
There’s also a carousel of bears in the centre and paper planes hang from the roof. Which leads us to the name, Mr Jones’ Orphanage, which is spooky and all the moreso when you notice the absence of kids and their lifeless, occasionally deformed toys sitting their unplayed. Up a thin flight of stairs is an attic of sorts, a network of mini pathways under about four foot of headspace. sofas and chairs are dotted about and a little bridge takes you around in a circle, and over to some bookcases. From here, you can look down upon cuddly animals and people battling with rich snacks.
The staff t-shirt says ‘eat your veggies’, and my milkshakes is listed with the name ‘first day in school’ – it’s peanut butter, choc and vanilla. It’s sweet and very good, but quite a challenge. We also have a chocolate mud pie and an Orio pizza (a creamy egg and chocolate slice thing). Before long I am a little nauseous and my tongue is lolling on the table like a dog. Not to say this level of indulgence is too much for a mighty man like me, but with Bangkok’s heat, and the lingering jetlag…
Needless to say, it’s boiling hot in Bangkok. Each morning I lie on my bedroom floor like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, waiting for the darkness to make itself known and to invite an expedition into the heart of it. But when I get up, and call an air conditioned cab, and the tuk tuks speed by with their fat exhausts and the mopeds carry three people and uncountable flip-flops flip flop around me, I think that I may as well elude the darkness for a bit longer, and enjoy Bangkok.