I’d like to introduce you to Matthew.  Matthew is my son.  He’s 17 years old going on 50 and he’s already seen more of South East Asia than most will see in a lifetime.  He knows every major and most minor airports between SEA and America inside and out.  The nooks, the crannies, the rare places you can stretch out and catch a nap between flights.  The best places to buy noodles.  Where the girls hang out.  He knows Thailand better.I’d like to introduce you to Matthew.  Matthew is my son.  He’s 17 years old going on 50 and he’s already seen more of South East Asia than most will see in a lifetime.  He knows every major and most minor airports between SEA and America inside and out.  The nooks, the crannies, the rare places you can stretch out and catch a nap between flights.  The best places to buy noodles.  Where the girls hang out.  He knows Thailand better.

Unfortunately this will be his last full summer with me here before he’s off to the university.  I’m not sure if I’m more proud, or more sad.  I think more sad.  I think the hurt will be much worse even than I’ve been anticipating.  A few months ago I didn’t think it possible, but now in the last weeks of his visit I’m certain of it.  His excitement is my pain.  This is the way it’s supposed to be.  To say I’ll miss him terribly can only be the most severe understatement.

I asked him to walk around the neighborhood with a camera and show us the neighborhood through his perspective.  To record the feelings he experiences in black and white.  The camera matters not.  It’s the perspective which intrigues and draws us in.  High contrast Pan-X black and white from 30 years ago.  17 year old eyes.  It fits.  Only two images will be in color, the rest timeless tones of grey where in most places time has stood still, and in other progress marches on.

Perhaps more than anything I’ll miss the fresh perspective he brings to my life.

 

Elephant Shine outside Floraville complex

 

Elephant shrine outside Floraville complex

 

Typical Soi, small, beat up, potholes, dirty..

 

A water filter machine the residents use to buy 'clean' water..

 

Some of the nicer apartment buildings in the moo ban frame the Floraville complex in the background

 

Pay washing machines and pay water filers many in the moo ban use when they can afford it.

 

The canals are spread all over this moo ban and in fact all housing units are built on top of the canals, often with long pilings going down quite far.

 

A typical eatery for the area.

 

A concrete walkway stretches across the canal connecting blocks of housing.

 

Nearing a block of housing units you'll be greated by the smells of cooking pots, children, but few if any dogs in his predominatlely Muslim area.

 

A cemeteries name is etched on this wall

 

Inside the cemetery you find it run down and unrecognizable as any cemetery you might be used to.

 

Concrete walkways run parallel to the canals and through homes, shops, restaurants, and all types of businesses.

 

This dyke regulates the flow of water in/out of the canals which is vital during periods of heavy rainfall to prevent the flooding of homes and threats from flash floods.

 

Small plank type bridges connect the homes to the concrete walkways.  The city builds the walkways, the home owner the planks connecting the walkways to their homes.

 

Some of the homes are bigger and have the traditional high walls surrounding the property.

 

During the contruction of the skytrain immigrant workers lived in virtual "shanty towns" made up of cardboard boxes and tin structures.  As they moved on these structures were built I presume for the Thai residents who were "displaced" by the construction.  Small cheaply and crudely built blocks of apartments.

 

Alongside the tracks of the regular ground trains you can see the new skytrain above and the traditional moo ban to the side.

 

Right off the concentre walkways, homes with no walls, clothes hanging to dry, and unused items not yet discarded.

 

This structure was torn down and a new apartmtent will go up in the shadows of the western style Floraville Condominiums..

 

A 'courtyard' where children play looks more like a garbage dump than a playground.

 

Here a house is in the background, right off the main walkway barely a meter wide.

 

Motorsais and pedestrians walk these uneven pathways through active moo bans

 

Motorsais, pedestrians, carts, and even small elephants regularly cross such pathways.

 

Here the homes can only be accessed by the walkways they build and maintain themselves.

 

Some of the walkways are study and well built like this one, even if there are no handrails or safety features you might expect to stop young children from falling in the canals.

 

A family prepares their sampan for the days work of hauling supplies and larger items to the homes in the area.

 

This appears to be a trash dump, sort of a aquactic compost pile where trash is thrown and then breaks down.  Unfortuantely this is done in the same canal as they use to wash clothes, swim, and get most of their water from including bathing water.

 

Children play on the inactive sampans.

 

The regular train tracks appear to stretch on endlessly where diesel locomotitves compete with the clean electricity of the elevated skytrain above.

 

New BTS Airport link onthe left, new housing blocks on the right, and the same diesel trains roar along the same tracks as they have for decades.