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Posts Tagged ‘Asia Books’

Street sign depicting the name of Sukhumvit Ro...

A street sign depicting the name of Sukhumvit Road (Thanon Sukhumvit) in Thai and Latin letters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning I dropped Hayden off at school and proceeded along Soi 4 to Sukhumvit. Some of the shops and bars were just opening for the day’s business. The Restaurants and cafes serving breakfast were in full swing with bleary-eyed farangs trying to down their first coffee of the day. A few of the ladies of the night were still out on the streets. Whether they were out trying to get an early start on the day’s business or just hoping for one last score on their way home to sleep away the sunshine hours after last nights commerce, I do not know.

Soi Arab in Bangkok, between the Sukhumvit 3 a...

Soi Arab in Bangkok, between the Sukhumvit 3 and 5 roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I stopped at a Starbuck’s at the corner of Sukhumvit and Nana for a Cafe Latte and to read the newspaper and then proceeded to the barbershop. The barber shop I use is located in the Arab quarter because we of the olive skin race, (bordering the Mediterranean and extending into the mountains of Persia and Afghanistan), tend to be generally more hirsute than the races from the north, south, and east of our homeland.

I ordered a shave and a deep ear cleaning. Now, for those unfamiliar with it, deep ear cleaning is a process that would probably be banned in North America or Europe. The barber inserts a series of long sharp instruments into one’s ear and scrapes, swabs and otherwise digs out whatever he or she finds in there. In my case, it must have been a lot since when I left the shop, the insistent noise of Bangkok appeared louder than when I went in.

From the barber shop, I walked through the back alleys of Arab town with their shops and cafes and travel agencies and the like catering to the mostly Muslim population of the area. The air smelled of spices, shawarma, and falafel reminding me of my love of the cuisine.

I come out of the alley in front of Gulliver’s, a large barn-like club. Inside there are several circular bars around which in the evenings young women sit in hopes of being hit on by preferably older and wealthier farangs.

I walk past Food Land Market. It houses a counter inside serving some of the least expensive good food, western and other, in BKK.

I enter a tunnel that runs between Soi’s. It is dark and filled on both sides with tiny bars, food stalls, and shops. The tunnel exits next to an establishment named The Beer Garden. It is basically a downscale version of Gulliver’s and is referred to by some as “The Chicken Farm.” I cross the street and pass through the driveway along the Amari Hotel that ends in a large parking lot that skirts the abandoned lobby of what I guess is another hotel, on the doors of which are sculpted a magnificent brace of swans.

The parking lot ends at Soi 11 adjacent to the Rain Tree Spa and across from my destination, the Ambassador Hotel, containing the health club and pool I use for my morning exercises.

Sukhumvit road

Sukhumvit road (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following my workout, I walk along Sukhumvit to Soi 4 to go back to my apartment. I often stop at the Landmark Hotel and visit the Asia Books store in the lobby to see if there and any new releases I want to read.

As I walk along, now and then a rat would poke its head out through a crack in the sidewalk, I guess for a glimpse of sunlight and perhaps safety from the dangers of the dark subterranean canals that lie just below the pavement, their fetid waters home to rats, snakes, and god knows what else. When Bangkok enclosed most of their canals to provide the motorways for the modern city, it created a miasmatic swamp just below the city’s streets. Who knows what is breeding down there. The sewers of Paris are palaces compared to these. Novels have been written of escapes through the sewer systems of many cities, even New York. But if you’re trapped in Bangkok’s I doubt the possibility of survival. I sometimes wonder if in a hundred years or so some new creature or creatures would rise from those mephitic waters, a plague perhaps, or something larger than minuscule disease-bearing organisms. Something looking like the Nagas of Thai myths, multi-headed serpents ascending from those hidden waterways and careening down the then flooded streets pursuing the few remaining inhabitants of the city.

Naga Head at Song Thale Park, Songkhla City.

Naga Head at Song Thale Park, Songkhla City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arriving home, I usually grab my computer and go to the small restaurant across Soi 4 from my apartment, really not much more substantial than a sidewalk cart where I have lunch. It has the benefit of free wi-fi access, so I play with the internet, check on the 49rs and write things like this until it is time to pick Hayden up from school.

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