To Bangkok, where I am to attend a meeting of our condo committee. It could be a very pleasant affair, if it were not for one member who is a complete arsehole. He attempts to get his way by shouting abuse at everyone, and the other Thais on the committee, who are all ladies, are too shocked and humiliated to face up to him; leaving the farangs to argue the case.
All very tiring, and this state of affairs has been going on for months. This week I decided I had better things to do with my life and walked out of the meeting.
Feeling generally pissed off, I went for a walk into Chinatown. Stood near the main train station studying a map, and a tuk-tuk stopped next to me. Just what I needed, someone else to annoy me and an attempt to rip me off. Surprisingly, no. He offered to show me directions to my destination; then explained it was his day off and he just liked to take his tuk-tuk for little drives; but not too far because the engine became too hot. He was very smartly dressed and admitted to being a bit of a playboy. He was certainly a bit of a chatty chap and it was hard to get away, although we eventually parted with firm handshakes, by which time I had forgotten the directions he had given me.
Turned out to be a good thing, because I ended up walking down small sois in an area which appeared to be dedicated to the storage and distribution of metal bars. Work spilled onto the pavement and I had to walk round all manner of industry to make any progress.
Was hailed by a couple of the local business owners who wanted to say “hello, where you come from, how long you stay?” I devised a standard answer of “England, three days”; because “England, thirteen years” would provoke the totally reasonable response of “why you no speak Thai”, which would rather put a dampener on the convivial time I was having.
One guy was very keen to show me his stock of aluminium, stainless steel and brass; and indeed I was most impressed. He then pointed to a storage shelf and suggested I might light to take a photo of it, so I did.
I then pointed the camera at him and said I should also take his photo, which he was less keen on, but allowed me.
Leaving my new best friend behind, I headed off in the general direction of where I thought I needed to go, and arrived at the car spares area, with piles of parts on every corner.
At one outlet, it was hard to differentiate between what was a spare part and what was part of the shop:
Next to a stack of lorry axles, I bumped into a bemused Japanese couple studying their map. We introduced ourselves, stared at our respective maps, and agree we were all lost. Cheered by this news, the phones came out and I was photographed with both of them before we headed off in opposite directions, both thinking we were heading to the same place. Never saw them again.
Faith restored in the general pleasantness of the human race, I spent a couple more hours generally lost in the fascinating streets of Chinatown. There are more photos; but they will come another time.
Photos: Panasonic GX1 with Olympus 75mm and Panasonic Summilux 25mm
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