The Best Places to Live

  by Walter Guest



I was in Copenhagen one time. It was near July 1st. I didn't bother to close the curtains of my hotel room. The sun woke me up at 3 in the morning. This is one of the towns on a list of best places to live.

Think about it, what time does the sun come up on Dec. 30? I’m not going to research this. Why research when guessing is so easy? So I would guess the sun comes up about 9AM and goes down around 3PM. Just the thought of that depresses me. And Copenhagen is the southernmost of the Scandinavian major cities. Why the hell would anyone want to live in places like those?

But The Reader’s Digest has decreed, based on U. N. statistics and the Environmental Sustainability Index drawn up by Yale and Columbia universities and the World Economic Forum, that these are the best places in the world to live. They must be right because they have the statistics. How dumb can research get? They never cease to amaze me.

Also in this “valuable” study they rate the major cities of the world. Here’s some of that:

European countries -- again, led by Scandinavia -- also top the Reader's Digest assessment of 72 cities for their quality of life. The criteria for this include public transport, parks, air quality, rubbish recycling and the price of electricity.

The winner is Stockholm, followed by Oslo, Munich and Paris.

Asia's mega-cities fare the worst. At the bottom is Beijing, preceded by Shanghai, Mumbai, Guangzhou and Bangkok.

Again this is based on statistics. Why go look around when statistics are so available and you don’t have to get out of your comfortable chair? (Hmmm, sounds like me.)

Here’s one point, when I traveled my work usually required me to live far from population centers. That taught me that major population centers are the worst places by which to judge the people of the country. Would you want The United States to be judged by the inhabitants of NYC? Well, I found the same to be true of almost every place I've been. If you want to find friendly people, get away from the population centers.

Another thing, when my company sent me to a large city they always booked me into a nearly first class hotel. I got pissed off in Tokyo because, except for the size of the room, there was no way to tell what town I was in. I got out of there and into a hotel with all those sliding panels and the rest of that Japanese stuff.

In Hong Kong I didn't change hotels because there were a few great restaurants very near. But I did go to the docks and eat with the workers just to get a feel of the place. Can you imagine a U. N. researcher doing something like that? The food down there was pretty good by the way.

So when the realization that I was finally retired sank in, I began exploring for the best place to live. I did not look into statistics. I knew how to truly find out about a place. Bangkok was far from the first place I visited, but after only two days I knew this was the place for me.

Isn't it odd that number one on my list would be near the bottom of The Reader’s Digest’s list?

I've written about the Bier Garten in downtown Bangkok before without identifying it by name. That is the big, barn-like joint that is my favorite hangout/office where most of this stuff is written. It’s my kind of place, lots of hookers, no pimps, and a bunch of old Farangs hanging around. It’s one of the few places in town in which I can be inconspicuous. It’s also one of the noisiest joints in town.

One time, on the way back from the can, I passed behind this cute chick trying to enchant an older guy (what else?). As I passed behind them, I let out a huge fart, drowned out by the noise, and kept on quickly. My only reward? She skewed up her nose and gave the old guy a disgusted look.

That was enough reward for me in my little life. At the time, with more than a couple of beers in me, I thought it might have been the funniest thing I’d ever done.

On reflection, I still think so. Am I pathetic or not?

But think about it, if we can’t do jokes involving farts, the terrorists have won. I am just doing my share to win the war.

On that subject, Thai women wrap the clothing around their butts as tightly as any I have ever seen. They almost wear armor around their breasts but they make sure every curve of their asses is on display. That’s the way I would have it if I had to choose.

The other day I was on an up escalator in the subway when I noticed some Muslim women just above me. They were wearing the Muslim headscarves but their asses were wrapped very tightly in silk, showing off every curve. That was a first. I had never seen a Muslim lady dressed like that before.

Maybe we’re winning.




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