Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

1st Apartment in Bangkok

When I decided to make Bangkok my home in the late summer of 2000, I had to find a suitable apartment where I could rest my weary head and tired feet.  Wasn't thinking of anything fancy.  After a thorough search, led by Kade, I ended up choosing a studio apartment in the Victory Monument area.  The apartment complex was Sabaai Place.  I chose it for a few key reasons:  First, there was a park nearby where I could get some exercise and unwind from the craziness of the city.  Second, the street life was amazing.  Literally, each day I would pass thousands of people on my walks to and from the BTS (Sky Train).  And, if I got hungry, there was so much food available - shopping mall establishments to kiosks to mom-and-pop restaurants.  Watch this video for a look at the street food options.  Lastly, perhaps the most important reason I chose the area was the easy access to my primary transportation source, the BTS

I lived in a studio apartment, on the eighth floor.   It cost me 8000 baht a month (plus utilities).  At the time, the US dollar was strong.  8000 baht would have equaled around $200 US.  I opted not to have a television because I didn't want it to waste my time.  I read a lot at night and spent gobs of time exploring the city when I wasn't working. 


When I look at this photo I see a strong resemblance to the Vann side of the family. 
In particular, I see a bit of Uncle Sam in me.









more photos of the area









 

This photo is facing in the direction of where I lived.  See the car lights above the monument.  Once you enlarge the photo, just about an inch up from the start of the lights, and over to the right, is the apartment building where I lived.  Can't find the source of the photo.  Once I re-discover it, I will cite it here.  

Here are two more photos - both from www.skyscrapercity.com.


See the building bottom center.  Next to it, to the right, is a four-sided building with a courtyard.  It's a college.  Blocked by the taller building (bottom center) and directly across from the college, on that soi (Thai for small road), is the apartment building where I lived.

If you go to the 12:50 mark, I am doing an evening walk around the Victory Monument.  Later, I jump on a bus to go to Kade's family home.  I filmed this in 2011.
Very close to the Victory Monument, and within easy walking distance from my apartment, was Soi Rangnam, a great street for eating.  Sometimes we'd have dinner with my Canadian friends who worked with me and lived in an apartment off of Rangnam.  Other times I would join a colleague from L.A. who loved a particular restaurant - Tee Sud Thai Inter.  I began to love it so much, Kade and I later made TSTI one of our go-to places.  The food was delicious.  To learn more about Soi Rangnam and our favorite restaurant, click here.

My favorite street vendors near the Victory Monument served Pad Thai, Fried Mussel Pancakes and Fruit Shakes.  The videos below are some examples.  I remember the lady who made the fruit shakes.  I always referred to her as "the Shake Lady."  Back then, it was a 10 baht charge (25 cents) for a shake of your choice.  But when I discovered I could pay 5 baht more and get a bit more banana, I would do just that.  In fact, she would see me walk up to her stand, and she'd ask, "Phiset?", which means "special" or "extra."  So phiset (h is silent) was one of the Thai words I picked up quickly!  Absolutely, my two favorite shakes were Banana and Coconut! 

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