I just finished cleaning the sink in my bathroom-for-the-month and realized this little task is part of what I wanted in this latest trip. I wanted to live in Bangkok for a month, peacefully and quietly enjoying everyday living in this city.
Even in my last stint of living here, I didn't have that and it certainly wasn't a hallmark of my last trips, or in my final years of living here. I was often scrambling for a way out of a place that had become immersed in turmoil and occasional violence. This year, after the bombing in late August, all is calm, all is bright.
I hate myself for enjoying a peace that has been imposed against the will of the majority but I do, all the more because I know it's temporary. Flashpoints in Thailand come without warning--right now the beach paradise of Phuket is in the aftermath of a night of riots that blocked the roads to the airport and set at least one street aflame. It could happen here in the next minute; I know that and I would cheer that on. But I'm human and I like the comfort of a city at peace. I'm not taking one second of this tranquility, artificial as it may be, for granted.
I won't come back to Thailand until this situation has changed, but in the meantime I am going to walk and observe and taste and engrave every area that I'm lucky enough to inhabit for a while into my memory. I want it all--or as much as I can encompass in a month, half of which is almost over. I want to relive a tiny bit of the life I loved here in the last century, to remember and cherish. I want the brief conversations that I'm capable of having with the convenience store clerk I see every day, the river views that I can see from my bed, the street meals that I blunder into, yes even the goddamned mosquito that woke me up with a bite on my eyelid. I want it all, all the dailiness, none of the sightseeing. And that's precisely what Bangkok is giving me this October.