This was my bedroom on the 18th floor of the Platinum Fashion Mall Condominiums in Bangkok, Thailand, where I lived and worked for 8 months in 2008-09.
To the left is the end of my long, glass-top working desk, where I spent weekday mornings and afternoons dutifully pounding away on that laptop, sitting in that wobbly, backache-inducing chair I bought from the Big C located around the corner on Thanon Ratchadamri. I lined that desk with a row of postcards from weekend trips to Ko Chang, Sukhothai, and Krabi, with a few greeting cards bearing the unmistakable image of King Rama mixed in for good measure.
In the bottom left corner is one of the plastic cups we saved from the unforgettable New Year’s Eve party at the Chang beer garden in front of Central World, which was tragically burned down during the protestor-government clashes earlier this year. (It’s being rebuilt to be even bigger and better, however.)
There’s the firm queen-sized bed that’s somehow made my twin bed here in Brooklyn seem even more cramped than it used to. The blinds are pulled up, and outside those sliding glass doors is our balcony, where we spent countless nights lounging on those plastic chairs, feet up on the railing, cold bottles of Chang beer in our laps, or maybe a bottle of 100 Pipers whiskey, watching and listening to the wonderful chaos below us on Thanon Petchaburi.
Tuk-tuk drivers racing each other after traffic briefly clears up at around 10pm, traffic cops relentlessly blowing their whistles from 7am – 8pm as if their lives depended on it, the occasional slow waltz of jazz music from an outdoor wedding reception at the Amari Watergate Hotel across the street. The green marquee lights on the amazing, fading relic-of-a-hotel Indra Regent, the nighttime twinkle lights around the Amari’s pool, the construction site where workers started early and ended late, but never seemed to make much more progress than moving piles of dirt from one end of the lot to the other, and back again.
There’s our washer and dryer, a day-to-day luxury enjoyed just as much as the ping-pong room and outdoor swimming pool down on the 12th floor; speaking of the pool, that looks like our bathing suits air-drying on the rack to the left. There’s one of our air conditioners, right above the glass doors, my coffee cup, the bedside lamp I rarely used. My girlfriend took perverse joy in hosing down that tiled balcony floor and driving the city’s dirt and grime into the washer drain. That red towel folded up on top of our chairs didn’t sop up water as much as it spread it; to the left, parallel to the clothes rack, you can just make out the base of the Baiyoke Tower.
I miss all of it.
It’s been over a year now since we moved back to Brooklyn. Nice to be back in the Williamsburg apartment I’ve called home for almost 7 years, to see my cat, go out with friends, be closer to family, enjoy cool fall and winter weather, run outdoors instead of on a treadmill, and to not deal with subletters. But, there’s been something gnawing at me lately… and I think it’s Bangkok.