By steamy, I mean several things. Yeah, there are Bangkok’s red-light districts. But then you have the humid summer heat – and the clouds of actual steam rising from every street vendor stall. How the Thais eat skewers and plates of hot, roasted meat and veg in this heat, I don’t know.
On July 6 I attempted to find out, by walking the streets and taking candid photos of the locals. Okay, I got shots of a few tourists here and there as well – they are the lifeblood of this city, after all! I mean that literally – they are a transfusion of cash into Bangkok’s arm. There wouldn’t be so many tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis without us tourists. “Where you going?”
The “Zen” mall in CentralWorld was burned down during riots in this summer’s red shirt protests. Now it’s surrounded by walls, prepared for rebuilding. To help promote goodwill there is a thoughtful poem from the president of Zen, and lots of heart-shaped posterboards where some people have scrawled messages of hope for the future of their beloved mall.
To others it’s a good spot to sit and smoke:
I’m going to use a cropped version of this photo so you can see what’s so great about this scene. All eyes are on this beautiful woman:
The contrasts don’t stop in Bangkok. This woman looks like she’s meditating as the epitome of wealth in Asia drives by: the BMW.
The pink slippers are classic.
Only half a meter of sidewalk separates these two, yet they live worlds apart.
For my last street photo I’ll throw in this food vendor snacking on her own wares. It’s a good sign if they’ll eat what they have cooked, right?
Now for the night photos, taken from the upper deck of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel. This was tricky, because the platform rotates. There is a screen with wide spacing (big enough to fit a D-SLR through), then a concrete outer ledge about a foot wide. The screen moves, but the ledge doesn’t.
I set my camera & mini-tripod on the outer ledge and clicked the shutter release. With a 5s timer, the camera stabilized as I pulled my hands back through the screen. Then I walked along the (rather fast) rotating platform to stay with the camera. Not much leeway here! Fortunately the camera is heavy enough, and the tripod small enough, that the high winds weren’t likely to blow it off the ledge.
There’s a lot of traffic in Bangkok. Even at night the streets and highways are crowded. During the day, the cabbies complain constantly about the traffic. “Don’t you wanna go some shopping on the way?” No, because the traffic will NOT be better after you drag me to some scam gem shop.
These wide shots were the best I could do, because there was no way to look in the viewfinder while placing the camera (through the mesh screen, and while walking slowly along the moving platform). If anyone finds a non-rotating vantage point in Bangkok with such good views, please let me know for the next time I’m there!