Sunday morning I jumped back on my bicycle and went for a ride through the neighborhood. What interesting things there are to be seen!
What a perfect gift for someone for Christmas: a slice of cake that you can never eat!
Sadly, they were closed on Sunday morning so I couldn’t pop in for a visit. They would probably freak out if I started taking pictures inside the store, though. That seems to really be an issue at businesses here in Thailand.
Someone, for reasons unknown, decided to post a street sign on the corner of the soi in the style of the signs that grace Parisian street corners. Interestingly, the person who made or ordered the sign decided to place Ekkamai Soi 26 in the 18th Arrondissement.
Perhaps there is a clue to be had from the fact that the 18th Arrondissement is Montmartre, the artsy residential district. Further exploration is called for but the fact that there is a frame shop below the sign might yield some answers.
My route continued north, crossing Khlong San Saeb, the primary east-west canal in the city and the only one that has any scheduled passenger boat service on it. You can actually take the canal taxis all the way into the old city, an efficient and inexpensive way to travel.
The khlong has pedestrian paths on either side and I have explored those before. In some parts of the khlong, nice houses back up to it. In other parts, the pedestrian paths cut through the shacks and shanties of some very poor families. Also, in the Thong Lor / Ekkamai area, there is a prominent Muslim community that lives near the khlong with one mosque near Thong Lor and another past Ekkamai. There are so many interesting communities here and you just don’t see them if you stay in a car.
Above: On Ekkamai flyover above Phetchaburi Road, there is an interesting Buddhist temple (gold pagoda on top) called Wat Ekkamai Pasi, literally, the “Ekkamai tax temple”. Next to it is the large Charn Issara 2 office building. Such a contrast! And in the cloverleaf formed by the ramps leading to the flyover, there is a small park that includes basketball, badminton, and football courts.
Beyond Phetchaburi Road is (below from left to right) the old State Railway line, the new Airport Express viaduct, and the maintenance facility for the Airport Express. To the left of the railway line is a small market and, with the red roof, the Khlongtan railway station. The track is currently used for commute rail services to the east as well as longer-distance trains that run to the Cambodian border and up to Northeast Thailand.
The maintenance facility is coming along nicely. If you look closely in the picture below you’ll see that the first piece of rolling stock has arrived.
How much longer until the Airport Express is running? Well, if you time your trip for late 2009, it should be running sometime around then. Meanwhile, if you arrive earlier, give me a call and I’ll come pick you up!