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    Tropical Heat Tour: Thailand Part 3

    Friday, August 3, 2012
    Bangkok, Thailand

    A typical business corner in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.

    A high-rise, a Chinese Buddhist temple and graffiti peacefully co-exist in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.

    Passengers disembark from a Chao Phraya riverboat at Asiatique mall in Bangkok, Thailand.

    I woke up too late for breakfast today, so for lunch, I schlepped a half mile over to May Kaidee’s main location on Thanon Samsen, an actual indoor restaurant with air conditioning and a cooking school. Next, I walked around at random for a short while, relaxing in a slight breeze under a shade tree in Santichaiprakan Park, a nice, mostly concrete-covered area that overlooks the Chao Phraya river. Then, at Phra Arthit, I hopped on a big river taxi to shoot some video of boats, temples and shantytowns down the scenic banks of the river. The only problem was that the boat was completely crammed full of humanity, so I had to stand mashed up with a bunch of other sardines the whole way. Thus, it was impossible to shoot video, because the roof was too low. I was surprised when the boat kept going past the Sathorn stop, as I thought it was the last one. But at the next, Asiatique, passengers started to disembark as some prick stood at the back and yelled at everyone to get off.

    Beautiful textures galore on a wall in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A low-slung bicycle food cart in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Site specific: An amazing unintentional art assemblage in Bangkok, Thailand.

    On shore, I spied a huge set of warehouses that had been turned into a ritzy mall with a million Japanese tourists milling around and shooting photos of each other in front of statues. Over a half hour period, I asked a ticket taker a couple of times how I could get on the orange flag boat heading North, but he barely spoke any English and kept telling me to “wait five minutes.” I eventually got fed up with that, and just left the place. It was impossible to walk anywhere close to the riverbank, so I had to take to the nearest street a couple of blocks away. I passed by a lot of amazing dilapidation, which I view as unintentional artwork. I think some of it looks way better than stuff that hangs in museums–for example, multi-layered assemblages that put Robert Rauschenberg’s combines to shame.

    Get your dentures here! Bangkok, Thailand.

    Site specific: An amazing unintentional art assemblage in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A gigantic Buddhist temple somewhere in Bangkok, Thailand.

    After walking for an hour or so, I got really tired and thought about hopping on a bus. I saw a sign for the number 15 that goes to Banglamphu, but I was thirsty, so I proceeded to 7-Eleven for a drink. A few seconds later, sure enough, bus number 15 cruised by and pulled over ahead at the next stop, but I was too far away to catch it. After a while, I ended up sitting on a curb at a crowded corner for around an hour, waiting for the next number 15 bus, but every one except 15 arrived repeatedly. So, I just sat and sat, as each bus lumbered by a few inches away from me. I felt like an ant as I stared at the sullen faces way up above me in the bus windows. I also felt like an aunt staring up at my uncle. Once again, I grew weary of that, and started hiking up the street again.

    Site specific: An amazing unintentional art installation in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A street in Chinatown, as seen from the bus in Bangkok, Thailand.

    I passed through several desolate areas full of closed businesses, then captured a little video and a field recording at a couple of Chinese Buddhist temples, where ceremonies were underway. Although I was semi-lost, asking random Thai people for directions proved fruitless, as I proceeded toward what I thought was North until I reached the outskirts of Chinatown. Finally, I saw a bus number 1 stopped at a red light and just randomly climbed on it. I rode it through the chaotic market / dinner crowds and bright lights of Chinatown, where I scored a couple of more photos and video, then jumped out when the bus started to head East at Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Grand Palace. For some odd reason, the old man driver refused my money when I tried to pay. After another round of grub at May Kaidee’s, I felt completely exhausted and turned in early around 10:00 pm.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

    One response to “Tropical Heat Tour: Thailand Part 3”

    1. Poison Pie says:

      Garry, I can relate to you hopping random buses going sort of the right direction. At times I did the same thing (with my five-year-old son) in Seoul.

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