I'm making friends in Bang Rak, the Bangkok quarter where I live. I love the area for it's mix of modernity (above the first floor) and popular street life (at ground level). You can find everything here, and I mean everything.. From computer parts, even Apple, to Som Tam salad.. from the Chinese Christian school below my window to the massage shop with improbable "therapists".. from a fake Rolex to an original Timberland shirt.. The Sky Train rolls in front of my residence leading to the uptown glitters; the Chao Phraya river flows nearby, and the public boats carry you to the historical temples and palaces, or to the anonymous condominiums downstream..
It's hot, it's humid, it's polluted.. but I smoke my cigar under the Saphan Taksin bridge and feel very reassured by the waves of life going around me. With my job I have come to know several people at every social level, and here social level has quite a big relevance.. It's not India with it's Casts, but it's not that much different. Being a "Farang", a Western foreigner, I'm off the social scale comparison, thanks God!
Of all the acquaintances made, those that I find more reliable are the homeless residing on the sidewalks. The elder lady above sleeps on the same step every night from October: I wonder what will be of her 10pm bedtime punctuality when the monsoon comes. The guys below at least have a decent protection from the overpassing highway, and certainly don't worry about security having the police booth right at their feet. The darker side of the "city of nightlife" is not really dark after all: everybody can see it, and make his own opinion, and do something if they wish..
Wake up guys, this is the Asia of contradictions.. But talk silently please: the old lady needs a good sleep til sunrise comes..