December 6, 2011

this city.

I have been a resident of Thailand for a little over two months now, floating around the southern islands while the floods have ravaged central Thailand and the capital. With the floods finally "under control" (but still devestating the northern suburbs where I live) we came back to Bangkok, where it all started, where it all happens, busy and smelly, full of contradictions living in harmony, the city of sin in the East.

Sitting in the middle of Lumpini Park this afternoon, a slight breeze cooling my skin on this hot Decemeber day, I remembered why I love the city so much. I grew up in a beyond small town that most people can't even understand really exists and moved to a city as fast as I could. Yet even the metro area of Pheonix cannot compare to the feeling of being in a mega city in Asia, packed with people, cars, weird smells and steam floating through the air, billboards in a different language, 20 story high malls, and millions of different walks of life crossing paths for millions of fleeting interactions. I love the peace and quiet of the country when I go home to visit, but nothing makes me feel alive like being in the middle of the organized chaos of the big city. Reading my book in the shade, people jogging around me, lazying on a blanket next to the lake, a drumming circle in the distance I totally forgot I was sitting in one of the largest cities on earth, with rush hour traffic humming all around, it felt like the trees provided a sound proof box from the outside craziness. Only when I looked up from my book could I see the urban jungle of skyscrapers and buses surrounding my green, lush paradise inside.

That is why I love the city. You can be surrounded by millions but still feel like your in your own little world. And I can go to my little tiny box with the matteress on the floor and everything I own in the world stuffed into the corner and be at home. Where I am with the person I love and nothing from the outside can get us, (we don't have TV or the internet so quite literally nothing can.) Tucked away in our tiny nook of the world I feel safe and satisfied. People are there, and I know it, I can be part of them whenever I want to because we are all one with the whole universe afterall. Sometimes it's nice to pretend though, even in the middle of it all, life is just that simple and you can be only you.

This city has cast its spell on me and I have fallen hard. From rooftop parties in downtown, to new friends enjoying good food and good company, to late night walks through the soi's of Sukhimvit, and shopping sprees in cheap markets, this city has a lot to offer and I want it all. So much temptation all around me, soon I will retreat back to my new house in the suburbs, get back to work (and stop spending my days reading and looking for my new favorite street food spot) and be able to control my urges in periodic doses otherwise I may lose my mind and my money. I can have the city on my terms, treat it like it treats me -acting like it doesn't need me until it shows a little weakness and then kicks you in the (figurative) balls. Watch out city, you have a loose cannon on the streets, who knows what I (or any of the other crazy people I see roaming around) will do next!

What is the city but the people? ~William Shakespeare

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