This week I spent about six hours over the course of two days dealing with the Ministry of Labor, renewing my work permit. That, about US$100, and the non-immigrant visa I received last summer while in the US, was enough to clear my way for another year of legal residency in Thailand.
I guess in the big picture this is a small price to pay to live with my husband, but it seems to me that people shouldn’t have to jump through so many hoops on an ongoing basis in order to live with their spouses. Jumping through hoops initially for immigration purposes, I can understand that. But every year from now to eternity? Rubbish.
Anyhow, at least I received a full year on the work permit instead of only ninety days at a time, which is usually the case. However, with the type of visa I have, I still need to do a border run (leave the country) once every ninety days, despite having a full year visa. Try to figure that one out.
One sign that life is back to normal in the City of Angels is that construction continues unabated. In the picture above, you are looking northwest at the Asoke Road / Sukhumvit Road intersection towards the new Terminal 21 mall. I wrote about this construction project in November, when they were laying the ground floor after a year of work on the foundation and understories. Six months later they are on the ninth floor, which is as high as the mall portion will go.
Another view from the Asoke Road side. Pretty soon the street will be shaded in the afternoon, once they add just a few more stories. The back portion of the property will have highrise component which will include a service apartment complex and office space. Do we need another mall in this city? Probably not, but at least it is further east than most of the malls, which are in the Siam Square area. This provides an option for those of us on the Sukhumvit corridor to avoid going all the way into the city.
I’m actually surprised by the amount of construction going on in this city, especially new condos. A few weeks ago I drove from our house at Sukhumvit 53 to the Nissan dealership at Sukhumvit 101/1. This is about six stations down the Skytrain line, only three of which are currently operational, the remaining ones scheduled for operation at the end of 2011. Around every single station, both the current and future ones, there are three or four large construction sites where highrise condos are being built.
Can there be that much demand? It must represent investors’ confidence in Thailand.
From highrises to sidewalks, inane utility work continues in Bangkok like it does in much of the world. Why is it that there never seems to be any coordination among respective agencies? A new sidewalk is built and neatly paved and then as soon as that is finished, a utility department comes along and digs it up.
The same is true along Asoke at the entrance to Soi Cowboy, where there was a large backhoe parked on the sidewalk for several days (anyone want to walk in the gutter?) as about five meters of the sidewalk was dug up and water mains were repaired.
I felt bad for these guys, the ones doing the actual work. What a messy job. As you can imagine, there’s not much rhyme or reason to the way utilities are laid out in this city. Sometimes they don’t even bury them, but lay them on top of the existing sidewalk and just spread some asphalt over the top, a snake running along the sidewalk, waiting to trip you.