Friday, June 18, 2010
The "MBK" Intersection
A question was raised on a forum I occasionally participate on asking about member’s recollections of their first trip to Thailand. There were a few that came to mind when I read the question, but one of the more striking ones was from our first morning after a late-night arrival at Don Muang, the “old” airport to the North of Bangkok’s downtown.
Awake after a precious few hours of sleep and excited with anticipation about this entirely foreign place we were chomping at the bit to get out of the hotel when our friend arrived (on “Thai time”) to take us out for our first walk around the area near our hotel. Down Rama 1 we walked, stopping on the bridge to watch the morning commuters leap quickly on and off the long-tail water taxis as they made their brief stops at the Saphan Hua Chang pier station on the fragrant klong below.
The intersection of Rama 1 and Phaya Thai – known by some as the MBK intersection – was a multi-level wonder to me. Although we had no idea yet what any of it was, from our vantage point on an elevated walkway we could see four BTS Skytrain tracks (both directions of the Silom and Sukhumvit lines), two very busy three lane roads with elevated walkways linked for crossing over them and, of course, the mammoth mirrored corner face of the Mah Book Krong mall complex itself.
The low rumbling of the trains above mixed with the sounds of traffic reverberating under and around the huge spans of concrete were impressive enough, but added to the humidity and new scents. It was an overwhelming experience we stood and watched for several minutes before being led off again by our “guide” Voy.