Khaosan Road, Bangkok: Forgeries and the Plot of BACK.
Above Photo: Sunset over Khaosan Road, Bangkok.
Known to millions of backpackers as the gateway to travelling in Thailand and South-East Asia, Khaosan Road still retains its backpacker edge. This, in spite of room prices in some of the road’s newer, posher hotels skyrocketing, as they cater for ‘Flashpackers’ and middle-aged people returning to Thailand.
With much more money in their pockets and higher credit card limits than when they first travelled as impecunious backpackers and students, these older travellers seek more comfort than windowless, cockroach-infested, paper-thin dorm rooms to sleep in than they put up with in their younger days.
Another change on Khaosan Road has been the hiding from public view of the once-thriving forgery industry down there. It was know as the place to go to get anything copied, often brilliantly, and it is this aspect of the road’s business that’s relevant to the plot of the modern-day backpacker story detailed in my novel, BACK.
Of course, I won’t explain why or what that is, but I was amused to recently come across this photo of forged degree certificates from Oxford and Cambridge Universities on a stall on Khaosan Road. This naturally made me think of the plot of BACK, where a motley bunch of British and American students head off into the Laotian jungle in search of something left behind from the Vietnam War, with disastrous consequences for them all.
Now, with forged passports, IDs and other official documents and the ever-present threat of terrorism, the forgery trade on Khaosan Road has been driven underground, and it takes a lot of official pressure to drive anything underground in Thailand…
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
For POWs/MIAs in Laos, see:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
BACK Parts 1 and 2
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