The year has been huge transition for me. The moving from Thailand and to the US was a physical hectic but it didn’t compare to the mental shift I’m having right now. It is exhausting but life is like working out. No pain, no gain.
I just want to let you know how fantastic you are and how much I love you even though I am about to leave you, again. I have to say that the years back in the city have given me much more than I asked from you.
Four and a half years ago I came back to you to retreat myself from the whole roller coaster ride in Sydney. I needed a rest, well, kind of a fresh start. You not only gave me back the strength and the sense of security but also inspired me as if this experience in the city was a new one for me.
Being away for almost a decade refreshed my views to the city, which has grown a lot. As I have both eyes of a foreigner and a local, I have discovered so many cool things about you.
Bangkok, you accommodate so many walks of life. I really enjoy people you from around the world you host: expats, migrant workers, tourists, and locals. You are such a sincere hypocrite in this realm of organised chaos. And I fucking love it!
There are for many amazing stories about you to tell the world and I haven’t done a justice for you. I still have photo series and blog posts about you that I want to share them but they haven’t seen the light. And I owe you that, big time.
Now, I am moving on for a new job in Washington DC and entering a phase of uncertainty again. And you know what? I couldn’t do it without you.
I cannot say thank you enough for embracing this old Bangkokian back into your arms and letting me fly out from the nest again to take on the world. I’m gonna make you proud.
And thank everyone who make Bangkok one of the most fascinating cities in the world. That includes my family, old friends, new friends, colleagues, fellow drinkers in the pubs, regular shops and street vendors in the neighbourhood, and even strangers that I got chances to have a look at some glimpse of your lives.
Bangkok, you are beautiful, amazing, and awesome. One last thing I’d like to ask from you is to wish me luck for another new adventure. Again, big thanks to you.
Have you ever wondered what the building you live in now used to be? When I found out that the condo I am living in now was one of stand-alone cinemas in the neighborhood, it excited me tremendously. It triggers my thoughts about the transformation of the Bangkok’s urban landscape.
When I moved back to Bangkok few years ago, it just happened that I ended up living in Phra Khanong area where I was very new to it. It’s on the other side of this big city as opposed to Don Muang, where I grew up. My last recollection of this strip was the heavy traffic jam on the intersection and there was a row of cinema signage.
On top of that, it is gorgeous to see its transformation as well. An enthusiast has posted a photo series of its demolition. And luckily, when Google Street View started to roll out in Bangkok in 2011, it has archived the construction of the new building as well.
Asia Rama was not the only stand-alone cinema in Phra Khanong area. There was a cluster of them. While it was in the hay day, there were at least six theaters and five department stores in this area. But I think the cinema was the last one operating. According to Wikipedia, it was closed down on 20 August 2009. The transformation is still happening as we speak. I will post about some of other cinemas later.
As soon as I got up on the train from Chiang Mai, my focus was almost immediately on the changing landscapes outside the window—from Ayutthaya Station right up Hua Lamphong Station. It was an enjoyable mixed bag of urban creep sceneries to see.
In Ayutthaya, there was a rhythm of rice fields and industrial estates emerging from the light of dawn. Then they started to work on the new Dark Red Line suburban commuter train in Rungsit. Don Muang was the mark that it had entered Bangkok with the old International Airport. Along the way, there was Bangkok’s Stonehenge, which became street artists’ heaven. It went through the train depot in Bang Sue, which would be the last clear horizon perspective from the train. Finally, while it was approaching the final destination in Hua Lamphong, Bangkok from the train view turned into dense communities.
By the time the train arrived Bangkok, the camera phone and the spare powerbank almost ran out of their power and I got very exhausted with the travelling and everything. But it was all really worth it.