Sometimes a city gets a bad rap. Sometimes you need to go out and get a second opinion. Sometimes both opinions are your own.
My first experience in Bangkok was somewhat shocking. I had just spent three wonderful weeks in Sydney, in fact I had just proclaimed it to be the greatest city ever. Sydney was clean, easygoing and livable. In contrast, what struck me most about Bangkok was the smell of wet dog and rotting meat. Oh, yes and the fact that the alphabet looked suspiciously like a bunch of squiggly horseshoes.
Coming back to Bangkok a more seasoned traveler, less easily shocked and with Yogyakarta fresh in my mind, things went smoother. We haggled like old pros on Khao San, relished in the breezes of the water taxi and even had heavenly foot massages (no upgrades, please).
Somehow, having already downloaded the city map to my head and revisiting sites like Wat Pho, Bangkok felt like an old familiar friend. Of course the fact that I did not get a heinous stomach ailment can not be underestimated. Nothing heightens the smell of rotting meat and wet dog like a heinous stomach ailment.