References – Part 3: Asian Fluctuations

40: Back in Bangkok

Southeast Asia

The earlier episodes of my life spent living in India and Thailand were part of my first big Asian adventure, shortly after I graduated from university. That trip involved five months teaching physics in India (January 1996 to June 1996), six months living in Bangkok as a teacher and club singer (June 1996 to December 1996), two months in Sumatra (December 1996 to February 1997) a month in Java (March 1997), a short trip back through Malaysia and Thailand (April 1997), then five weeks in Pakistan (April to May 1997).

I don’t recall where I originally sources the numbers for the proportion of Thailand’s GDP generated in Bangkok, or Bangkok’s population since 1880.

However, the proportion of Thailand’s GDP generated in Bangkok is quoted on the website of Thomas White, Global Investing, and the figures for Bangkok’s population since 1880 are quoted on a Thai site called Thailand Buddy.


41: The Temples of Angkor

The deepest explanation I found of the underlying economic forces that facilitated Angkor’s extraordinary monumental architecture is Clive Ponting’s World History: New Perspective (which I was carrying at the time).

With respect to the ‘years since’ figures for the major world religious and monumental sites, the number for Chartres Cathedral is a typo. One thousand years have been added during the proofing process. My apologies. The correct figure for the age of Chartres in 2005 was 785 years.

Here are all the calculations:

Chartres Cathedral: the building of Chartres took place over 30 years, and I use 1220 for its completion. 2005 – 1220 = 785. Since my trip it’s been discovered that the high vaults over the choir were not build until the 1250s.

Angkor Wat: for Angkor, I use a date of 1152, just after the death of Suryavarman II in about 1150. The exact date of completion isn’t known. 2005 – 1150 = 853.

Aya Sophia: the Aya Sophia was dedicated in 537 CE. So: 2005 – 537 = 1,468. It was the largest church in the world for two thirds of its existence so far.

Pyramid of the Sun: the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico is the most impressive of the Mesoamerican Pyramids (although not the most beautiful, harmonious or largest by volume). It was the biggest ceremonial building of the city of Teotihuacán (the most important state of the classical period of Mesoamerican civilization). It is not to be confused with the mud-brick Pyramid of the Sun in Peru, near Trujillo, which I visited later in my pilgrimage. The exact date the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico was built isn’t known. I use 200 CE (which is about right). 2005 – 200 = 1,805

Colosseum: the Colosseum was completed in 80 CE, during the reign of the emperor Titus. 2005 – 80 = 1,925

Stonehenge: the date for the completion of Stonehenge is extremely vague because:

  1. it was built, during a prehistoric period, by a society about which we know almost nothing; and
  2. it consists of a series of constructions and burials which took place over a thousand-year period.

I use a date of 1500 BCE, by which time the site in its present form had unambiguously been constructed.

Great Pyramid of Cheops: again, the exact date of the completion of the pyramid of Cheops (Khufu) isn’t known. I use 2580 BCE. So: 2580 + 2005 = 4,585


My camera got nicked, here's a postcard.

45: Full Moon

Details of NASA’s New Horizons probe mission to Pluto can be found on this website.

Here is a timeline of the mission.


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