Friday, September 30, 2011

Bangkok City View: The Big Picture vs The Details

A slice of Bangkok  - from 80+ floors to a single one.

From a vantage point above street level it's easier to see the vast differences in building structures in Bangkok, ranging from the 80+ floors of the taller Baiyoke tower to everyday businesses and homes on ground level. I was perhaps 10 floors up when I took the three photos above that are blended into one.

Naturally, landowners there inevitably have the final say on who or what inhabits the dirt they hold claim to, and because of that there are occasionally displacements of homes and businesses as a larger fish comes along to snap up the smaller ones. I don't recall what was sitting where the construction is going on in these pictures; maybe smaller shops, maybe houses.

My guess is that the building codes in Thailand fall somewhere to the left of "anything goes," but it's often interesting to see the juxtaposition of modern buildings and much simpler buildings. I suppose the phrase "money talks" has a lot to do with it.

It's always interesting to take time and explore the area you're visiting and notice how folks there live - at least, I think it's interesting. I'm well aware that there are visitors to Thailand who see nothing before dusk when they go on the prowl, but that's their loss. Give me a room with a view, a good zoom lens or compact set of binoculars and - with luck - a relatively clean window any day.

Take as an example the photo above. It's the lower right-hand corner of the larger stitched photo up top, but if you look closely you can see a microcosm of city life in Bangkok. It has almost everything but a 7-Eleven. Along with an oddly-angled city block crowned by a saffron-colored shopfront you have buildings with residences of varying stripes.

Rooftop gardens, clothes hanging outside of upper floor windows or enclosed in chain-link fenced areas that turn open-air space into living space, some of the ubiquitous silvery metal rooftop tanks - up where the sun can help heat the water held inside, and down on the street a bus and a small pick-up truck out making their rounds.

If you look closer you'll notice a man standing in the doorway of a shop, and to his left is what I believe is a casual restaurant on the corner.

Bangkok sidewalks being the grossly under-maintained horror show they often are you have to look where you're stepping, so if you're on the street walking you'd miss this insight to the area. It's for this reason alone that I encourage you to take time to really look out of the window in your room, wherever it is you stay. Not just at the view overall, but the detail within it.

[By the way, in addition to the somewhat odd angle the blending software gave to the green-screened construction in the top image there's something unusual in one of today's pictures; something I added myself that wasn't in the original image.  Clicking on the images to enlarge them will probably help.  Can you spot it?]

Answer: In the middle (vertical) photo there's a guy leaning on a post on the 4th floor from the top, next to the red vertical metalwork - and the identical man on the 5th floor from the top, and another on the 6th from the top, and still another one on the 7th from the top. Looks like Where's Waldo has nothing on me!


christianpfc said...

On the top photo, there is a sign (red and green) on top of a building on the left side of the picture, which looks like "Ibis hotel", but there is no Ibis hotel that close to the Bayoke II tower.

krobbie said...

Unless it is the tree in the middle distance on top of a building to the left, I have no idea. This is in the first picture. I've looked at all three and nothing seems out of place.

And by the by ... where are you holidaying might I ask?

Cheers Bao-Bao,