Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baiyoke Tower: Now You See It, Now You Don't

Change is inevitable, so don't classify this as a complaint. If it is, it's most certainly a minor one. I'd classify it more as a passing observation, myself.

On my first visit to Thailand I arrived shortly before midnight, so the long ride in from Don Muang International was naturally done in the hit-or-miss illumination of street lights, store lighting and swaths of automobile headlights. As a goggle-eyed newcomer I saw a lot, but really couldn't see much, if you know what I mean.

What woke me on my first morning there was the pinkish glow of dawn as my room began to lighten from the sun just below the skyline to the East. I'd left the drapes open after sitting and looking out at the city lights just a handful of hours before. I'd then fallen into that strange, time-shift slumber caused by traveling across a dozen-plus time zones in as many hours, and awoke disoriented.

Realizing I was not in Kansas any more I clambered out of bed and was greeted by the view above; a portion of the Bangkok skyline with the taller of the two Baiyoke towers pointing up towards the sky. I've stayed at the same hotel a few other times and have usually requested a room facing East, always pleasantly reminding me of that first trip.

Then, later in 2006 I opened the drapes and saw this...

I hadn't been paying attention when the taxi was driving me in past the construction; maybe fumbling with my wallet in preparation of my arrival and payment, maybe just daydreaming, I'm not sure. Anyway, it was a shock. As far as I can tell these are condominiums, but I'm frankly not all that interested in finding out. I knew I was losing that "first time" view, and it was a little sad.

A couple of years later I was at the same hotel with a newbie, sharing that delightful joy of a first trip there. By that time the condos were finished, and the poor old tower was just able to peek through between the two wings.

As I said to begin with today: change is inevitable, but not always welcome. Mai pen rai.

No comments: