Bangkok Babylon
The real-life exploits of Bangkok's legendary expatriates are often stranger than fiction.

Jerry Hopkins

Published in the UK as "Bangkok Confidential", Jerry Hopkins introduces 25 of the most interesting expatriates in Bangkok, men who (in his words) "are bolder, more imaginative or merely more curious, and either more heroic or foolhardy or over-the-top than most, men imbued with an unchecked sense of adventure or at least a delight in, on a slow day the eccentric, an average day the unexpected, and on a good day, no less than incredulity. Among them are the man thought to be the model for Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, an advertising executive who photographs Thai bargirls for Playboy, an Oscar-winning screenwriter who moved there to die, a Catholic priest who has lived and worked in the Bangkok slums for 35 years, a circus dwarf turned computer programmer turned restaurateur, three Vietnam war helicopter pilots who opened a go-go bar, a pianist at one of the world's best hotels who ended up on the FBI's Most Wanted list, a gem dealer who smuggles antiquities from Burma and Cambodia, a detective who tracks runaways who fake their deaths, and a documentary filmmaker who lives with elephants. All of them "escaped" to Thailand to re-invent themselves and live out their fantasies in one of the world's most notorious cities.

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