Living in Bangkok. Life in a small village soi

Drew and I have been living in Bangkok for the past 2 months and have just made the move up to Chiang Mai a few days ago. Strangely, for a couple who moved from a small town of 1500 people, to the sprawling, hot metropolis that is Bangkok, we weren’t ready to leave. City live treated us well. We spent our time there studying with Web Courses Bangkok – me in Graphic Design and Web Design, and Drew did full advanced training in web design. We had a blast and loved every moment of  our time there.

We stayed at Sanctuary House in Sathorn which is about a 10-15 minute walk from Lumphini MRT. Our apartment was a little studio with a pint sized kitchen. Since we love to cook every day and savor delicious coffee in the mornings, having a 2 burner hot plate, microwave and near full sized fridge was an absolute blessing.

Next door to Sanctuary House is a dilapidated old building – an ex-hotel that bore the name Budget Hilton in red electrical tape across the front window. Prior to being the Budget Hilton, this hotel was known as the Notorious Boston Inn for it’s role in the Vietnam War as a place for American Soldiers to find some refuge from the war, and some temporary love from the beautiful girls that snuggled up beside them for a fee. In our time at Sathorn, the building started undergoing renovation. It will be interesting to see if it emerges as a beautiful butterfly or whether it remains unchanged from it’s history as a seedy and cheap form of accommodation. Time will tell.

Our little soi had some really interesting characters.

The Environmental Champion

There was the lady who collected all of the plastic bottles and cans from the nearby restaurants. Each morning walking downstairs and onto our soi, the dead end was a mountain of recycling ready for her to sell. She makes a living, and I had a smile of delight on my face because the piles of rubbish weren’t just going to landfill.

Intensely Beautiful Dogs

Across the soi lived a European guy and his partner who had two beautiful husky dogs. They were brilliantly behaved and followed him everywhere. Obviously this guy liked animals as he also kept a couple of squirrels and parrots as well. All of his animals were well looked after. How the huskies could stand the Bangkok summer heat though, I have no idea.

Kid on a Sugar Rush

Next to the husky house, was a lady and her young son. He might have been maybe 2 or 3 years old. I don’t have kids and don’t know a lot about them, but my observations on this little fella and his mum had me a little concerned. Every afternoon/early evening he would cry for ages at a time, and every time I saw them, he was being given sugary treats. Ice cream, lollies, syrupy icy drinks the lot. I know a little about the Paleo diet and it’s effects on mood etc, and I just wanted to get this kid eating real food and ditching sugar. It was causing him and his mum distress and I couldn’t be sure that she could put two and two together.

The Honorable Tailor

I had my faith restored in tailors. Yes, you know those that are generally the equivalent of used car sales people and real estate agents. After being hijacked by a tuk tuk in Silom and taken to b.f. nowhere before we even realised it, I already had a vement dislike for tuk tuk drivers and tailors. However, my new friend Rajah who owns the tailor shop directly across from the car park entrance to the Ibis, was polite, not pushy at all, charged me a super fair price, didn’t try to up sell me and even offered for me to drop in for a spot of Chai and a chat. Guess where I will be going if I need anything adjusted or made?

Girl with an Edge

There was a loner that lurked around that really put me on edge though. A young lady who hung out on the street near the 7/11 and Rajah’s tailor shop. The first time I saw her, I just wanted to reach out and hug her. She looked like she was about to burst into tears. Then I realised that she was a heavy drug user and begged for money on the street. Each time I walked past she had this piercing gaze, a look of pure fright in her eyes. She freaked me right out and I felt complete sense of uncertainty in her presence.

Among all of these fascinating people were the regulars. The business owners, the street sellers, the merry peddlers who’s regular music resonated through the soi as they try to sell their wares, and the older westerners who sit in the same bar at the same time every day drinking the same beer. For a small quiet soi, it was truly a fascinating place to watch people acting out their lives.

I miss Bangkok, and can’t wait to go back.