By Graham K. Rogers
Tourists like the beaches and the night life. I prefer Thonburi on the west side of the city. There are many twisting lanes and back streets and generally nicer people. As well as communities, there is a railway here and I used this as part of my walk back home.
This part of the photographic essay begins with the lower end of the market, away from the street. By the time I arrived, numbers of people there were dwindling.
Through a small gap at the end of the soi, I could see the tracks of the railway. This runs from Wongwianyai to Mahachai and is quite heavily used by commuters as well as the occasional tourist who finds this more by chance I suspect. I have used this line on a number of occasions and wrote about it when I first used the line and since:
As I stepped through, it was as if I had suddenly left the city and been transported instantly to the countryside.
As I walked along, I got out of the way of an old man heading to the vet to pick up his small dog (I saw him when he was on the way back). As he passed, he pointed at the track where a dove was collecting for a nest. Not far away, an old lady was busy watering flowers: her house was surrounded by them as were others nearby.
Naturally, as I walked back towards Thoedthai Soi 33 and the way home the surroundings began to change.
As I came near to the small soi I would turn into for a short cut to the condo where I live, I saw a couple of older men: one walking face down, avoiding any contact with anyone, and one - particularly poignant after the criticisms of soldiers in recent days here - with a missing lower leg, forced to sell lottery tickets as a way to scrape by. The politicians decide on the conflicts, the generals choose the battles, but those who serve (many with no choice) are forgotten afterwards.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.