King Kaeo Road, Bangkok
First of all, it has to be said that King Kaeo probably does not mean what you think it does if you don’t speak Thai. ‘King’ can mean a foreign king, but it can also mean ‘ginger’ and at least three other things depending on the tone in which it is spoken. Anyway, my sister-in-law lives in a street (soi) off King Kaeo (also spelled ‘King Gao’ and other ways) and I have been coming here for twelve years. At the bottom of the soi is a wire fence which separates it off from one of Suvarnabhumi Airport’s runways.
Surprisingly, the noise is not excessive and the houses have doubled in value since the airport opened several years ago. Needless to say, it is very convenient for the airport.
It is a quiet soi with no bars and no night life, although I did notice a gate with a new sign on it yesterday. ‘Massage’, read the hand-written sign in English. Strange, I am the only English-speaker I have ever seen here. Perhaps it’s a personal invitation 🙂
In an attempt to create some community spirit, the locals bought up an old house and knocked it down. This they concreted over to provide a thoroughfare to the next soi. They have placed tables and chairs for people to sit on, and someone has converted part of his house into a shop selling barbecued meat, beer, spirits, ice and crisps. They are doing a roaring trade in the evenings.
It is where I am sitting writing this now. Last night, I spotted a bird with its foot caught in the overhead electricity wires, so I mentioned it to one of the locals sitting there. I thought that the bird was doomed, because I have lived in a Thai farming village for twelve years and I have never seen much kindness to animals. However, one old woman fetched a five foot pole, which was ten feet short, and then they found one of the correct size. The bird was hanging upside down by one leg, but it grabbed the pole with its other one, wrenched itself free and flew away.
Well done, the locals!
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Podcast: King Kaeo Road, Bangkok