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So what's it really like living there?

Morning Boats

morning boat I live by the river and can beat the morning traffic by taking the boat. You really must try some Bangkok traffic to appreciate what this means. Taking a bus is possible, yes, but a klick up the road there are Three schools. And weekdays this jams Charoen Krung Road quite incredibly. I can instead go out the back and hop the Express Boat which neatly bypasses the worst of the traffic.

Out at 6:15 to the boat landing and swapped happy hellos with a really pretty schoolgirl. Funny what meanings flow in the simple containers of words. My hello said you are very nice and I'm surprised and pleased to see you this fine morning. Her's said thank you much, kind sir, for your appreciation and I like you too.
Sathorn Morning The river like heavy rippled glass and unruffled in the silence of the morning only the chug of a tug barging upstream heard and even it seemed wrapped in the quiet. Then the express boat came and curved us out to the middle of the river where the sky opens up and all the city lies around.
Express Boat Blue and grey were the colors of the day and even the river bluish brown only the palest touch of yellow out of the morning sun contrasted the hues of blue and still the city seemed wrapped in silence though the heavy engine massaged my toes through the deck. It seemed we were the only motion in stillness.
And the next dock a really smashing bird came flying down late and with the boat drifting slowly away from the dock leapt with laugh and I caught her arm, high heels no good for jumping with, but she broke the time suspended spell with her life and the boatman and I grinned at each other as he blew his whistle and the day began for real.

Express boats are long, thin and bash the stern against the pier to load passengers. With 15 meters of boat this sometimes takes a couple of attempts when the tide is running strongly. Its a wonderful way to start the day with a smile and the air is a silky balm in the morning.
rough morning on the river A cool and cloudy morning, stormy too with the express boat rolling viciously in the wake of her sisters and tatters of rain and I'm feet wide apart at the stern watching the higheeled honeys holding on. Then its time to get off and timed it perfectly as the boat comes in at speed and clobbers the dock I'm in the air and skipping up the stairs 30 meters down the walkway before they reel it in close enough for the tight skirts to make it across.

People Watching
At 0630 the pier is cluttered with primary school girls, an hour later the college cuties are out in force, an hour later and the office crew is moving scrubbed, buffed, polished and grumbling about what the breeze is doing to the hairdo. boat and bridge After that, amusingly, the passangers are half farang, foreigners going out to take a look around.
Evening and bridge
After a day playing with the computer I'm ready to go home again. Its a brisk walk to Sipraya pier and the river is very glamourous at night, all those lights and big hotels (hard to get a decent picture of all this).

While it can flood you out sometimes, we were knee deep this year, the Chao Phaya river is a friendly face on Bangkok.

Wat Vorachayawas

Bangkok has lots of Wat's but this one is mine.
At 10 o'clock the gates are shut and the tuk-tuks and two strokes are kept out. (me too if I'm late :-) I'm 300 meters from the main road so at night the loudest noise is the barges thudding upstream. Aside from the dogs of course.
Wat by the river Odd thing with the dogs. Sometimes very late and quiet as it gets. With no signal I can sense they begin to howl. Dogs in adjoining sois come in. Even the cats sometimes add their voices. The chorus fades and all is quiet again. Ghosts, obviously.
the wat the funeral bell rings in the morning
all the temple dogs howl
a woman cries out in the night
all the temple dogs howl
wanna go round again?

Wat Vorachanyawas A very hidden and private secret about Wats is that the monks have the best breakfasts in Thailand. They toddle off in the morning exchanging blessings for food and, especially around the full moon, come back with many wonderful things.
I've been here a year and a half now and am still quite contented.
buddha's shadow
Morning boats and Wats. That's the beginning of my Bangkok. There's more, of course. Much much more. The people make the city a happy place to live and deserve a whole page for themselves.
As I put the pictures and the prose together I'll share it with you.

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