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    Tropical Storm Tour: Thailand Part 40

    Thursday, July 30, 2015
    Bangkok, Thailand

    A Buddhist ceremony at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand.
    A Buddhist ceremony at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand.

    A Buddhist ceremony at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand.
    A Buddhist ceremony at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand.

    Although it had been sunny at least part of the day, by the time I set out for my walk, the sky had darkened and was emitting a steady stream of H20. So, I hoisted up my umbrella and schlepped through the slog to Thanon Samsen, where I jumped on a random bus north. My intention was to get off at Thanon Rama VIII to walk across the giant cable stayed bridge over the Chao Phraya river. But, I had to deal with putting away my umbrella, so I didn’t pay attention to the road and ended up going way past it. When the fare collector saw me straining to see where I was, she and another passenger told me to get off and take a bus four stops in the opposite direction. I figured as much, and would have done the same thing on my own anyway. But, I appreciated the help.

    The stairway up to the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.
    The stairway up to the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A bottom view of the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A bottom view of the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.

    On the bus back, I kept out an eagle eye for Rama VIII, and jumped off as soon as I saw the beginning of the bridge crossing Thanon Samsen. Turning right, I proceeded rain-free a quarter mile under the bridge as it sloped up toward the river. There, I found a graffiti-covered staircase complete with kids playing ball and a young homeless lady yelling at nothing in particular, which was sad, as she’s probably mentally ill. Ascending to the bridge, I was surprised to see how few people–besides motorists–were using it. I only encountered two or three pedestrians and bicyclists the whole way across.

    The deck of the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.
    The deck of the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.

    There's a pot of gold at the end of the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.
    There’s a pot of gold at the end of the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.

    The upside down Y-shaped structure on the far side is very photogenic with a phalanx of yellow-coated cables spilling out of it and stretching all the way to land on either end of the bridge. From the center, there is a great view of all the buildings that call the banks of the Chao Phraya river home. About three quarters of the way across, a young Thai couple passed me going in the opposite direction when I was trying to line up a shot of the bridge’s tower. At one point, I looked around before taking a step back to get a wider view, when I caught the girl sneaking a photo of me from behind with her smartphone. She smiled and motioned for me to go ahead and take my photo of the tower, like she was shooting it, too, but I really think she was taking one of me. I’m sure locals always do the same thing and post it on Facebook or Instagram, and say something like, “Look at me and the funny-looking foreigner.”

    A side view of the upside down Y-shaped tower of the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A side view of the upside down Y-shaped tower of the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A fruit vendor on Thanon Rambuttri in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.
    A fruit vendor on Thanon Rambuttri in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.

    Reaching the other end of the bridge, I descended the staircase into an all-concrete park laid out in a series of circular steps and curbs. A bunch of Thai ladies were there busting out some aerobics to their usual crazy techno music. No sooner had I arrived, and they were already shutting it down. As I wandered about the place, I noticed a few skateboard obstacles like flat rails and wedge ramps, but no skaters around anywhere. I wonder if anyone in Bangkok has ever built a bowl? By the time I headed back over the bridge to Banglamphu, it was dark and the Rama VIII bridge was all lit up like Christmas. Overall, it was a really pleasant, scenic walk, and I highly recommend it.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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