When in Bangkok I love to take a walk along sukhumvit road and there is certainly an awful lot of it to walk. However I don’t need a taxi or a ride on the sky train preferring to walk and discover the mysteries of the sois (side roads) and the familiar faces of the area. Walking parts of Sukhumvit is enough to get the better of any man in the hot day sun, but over two to three days I would have re-visited sois 1-33 and sois 2-26 and I love it. I remember lots things and faces from last time, that are still here. Sukhumvit life as it were.
The traffic is still as jammed , the taxi drivers are still as patient and chatty as I remember last time despite of the tedious waits in traffic they have.
We are in a taxi. Sukhumvit road is blocked like normal so we decide to take a short cut out of Sukhumvit road to get back to Ramkhamhaeng and turn in to soi 19.
On entering the mouth of the soi it is also blocked. We now cannot go forward and cannot go back it is gridlock. Approximately 10 mini buses carrying international School children have all decided to head the wrong way down a one way street, figuring they are bigger and better than us.
The taxi driver has a bit of a moan, but nothing to the extent of the physical altercations that would have kicked off had it been in England. The taxi driver has no option, but to carry out the equivalent of a 10 point turn and face the Sukhumvit grid lock again. The race is now on to get out before all the mini buses at the change of the light from red to green. Who would want to be a taxi driver in this traffic, not sure about being a passenger either, you can lose stacks of your day in traffic jams. The taxi drivers acceptance of his lot never ceases to amaze me, so patient without complaint.
The lady with the sewing machine is here, I remember her from last time and the time before she repaired my trousers for a modest sum last time. A hard-working and pleasant lady.
The shouts of hello sir welcome massage still come, but I feel not from so many doorways this time, maybe recession, the lack of tourists and political problems has knocked out a few.
Food centre at the entrance to soi 5 is still the same, still turns out good fare for a fair price and the window seats still allow you to watch Sukhumvit life go by. Many a thing can you see whilst snacking on a foodcentre dish.
Thai women are just the same as I always remember still classy, sexy and head turning creatures. I seem to end up with neck ache on my return home or in a brace from all the quick head turning moves I have carried out. I am sorry but I have to admit my head turns far more in the East than in the West.
The fruit vendor is the same man that I remember before, and he remembers us also. We buy 70 baht worth of fruit from him in the form of pineapple, papaya, water melon and he is delighted. He says if we make it up to 100 baht then he can go home early. We buy more fruit and he sets off home, this pleases him greatly, a delightful elderly gentleman, but still with a lovely attitude and a will to work and always combined with a smile.
The beggars are still the same as I remember before some with children and some without, but located on the bridges and under as well.
The worst is a man with stumps as legs, who must crawl on his belly whilst pushing a cup and hope that people look fondly upon him. I remember him from last time and the time before. I dread to think how long the man has been living like this, what happened to him? What was his sad story? We ask are you hungry and buy him some food, we ask are you thirsty and buy him some juice and finally we leave him some money. I start to feel guilty as I don’t want to keep passing him and watching his continued uphill struggle and I know that I have absolutely nothing to moan about in life.
The security at the Emporium shopping centre is just the same, all turned out in pristine white uniforms. A nice big salute and the door opened for you on arrival.
The offers you get are just the same, excuse me sir would you like a massage whilst discreetly being shown a partially dressed photo of a ”therapist” from an arms distance, would you like to buy Viagra or would you like to buy a rolex watch. None of the above thanks.
Side stepping middle eastern tailor shops is my speciality as they come out to greet me saying ” hello John how are you, where are you from”. They don’t see me for dust as I quickly walk along Sukhumvit road, Bangkok.
Finally something that needs to be done in order to get a real buzz is crossing the road at soi 21 with the traffic flying at you in all directions and hoping you make it to each stage of the crossing process. I suddenly remember what being alert really means.
However with all it’s faults and hair-raising moments I still love to walk along Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok. Yes I really love Sukhumvit life.
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