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31 May 2010

My Bangkok, My Story

AirAsia Social Media team

By AirAsia Social Media team

I’m currently on my way home to Jakarta. I’ve been missing home so much; I arrived three hours prior to my flight today. Haha. It’s a bit too early and something that rarely happened to me.

As told on my previous article, this trip has been so emotional, visited Bangkok with a sincere heart; to let others know that this city has healed from its catastrophic event happened a week ago.

So, just after the first article posted, I walked around, did some touristic activity. I visited Khaosan Road, including a visit to my favorite street restaurant in Soi Rambuttri –it’s the one in front of Green House Guest House and Rambuttri Inn—, rode the public transports –public bus, taxi, BTS, and even rented motorcycle—, took pictures of street vendors and paid a visit to AirAsia’s sales office in Khaosan Road.

I tweeted. If you managed to see various tweets with hashtag #AAluvThai, nah it was almost all me. But the best part of that short touristic trip was meeting Bew, one AllStars that got a night shift at our station in Khaosan Road.

Bew was full of smile, something we all need to see in a simple way. “We normally open until 10pm. But we’re still under curvew, so we’ll close at 8.30pm,” he explained. He also told me that sales were getting better again. It’s sign of recovery #1.

In a basic rule, seeing local having that kind of enthusiasm is a marvelous feeling. Yes, I’m a stranger for this town, not living here on a daily basis. But having a colleague like Bew who showed me in person that lives here in Bangkok still the same, was extra ordinary.

To see Khaosan in a normal way was also actually another tremendous feeling. Mixture of people –Caucasian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Melayu like me— was there. Just like there’s nothing happened before.

Oh, since the beginning of the day, I wanted to have dinner in my favorite street restaurant in Soi Rambuttri. So I took my chance also.

The owner of that place cut his long hair, just like I did a month ago. Last time I met him was January, four months ago. But the taste of his food was still super ok. I ordered spicy seafood Pad Thai and a small bottle of Singha, to celebrate my return to the neighborhood.

I saved a little space in my tank; local spring roll from street vendor was next. It’s still tasty; I took two pieces of it while having a walk along the main flank of Khaosan Road. Unfortunately, time’s up. I had to go to the nearest bus stop, catch air conditioner bus number 511 that’d bring me back to my hotel in Sukhumvit.

Do you want to know what I felt at that time? Well, you should know actually whether you want it or not –Hehe!—. My sentimental feeling was suddenly gone. I realized that this city is completely perfect again. It was torn into pieces, but it managed to be whole again in a very short time.

Remember the basic ability our body has if it’s torn and leave you cut open? It will healed by itself, right? Bangkok is just like that. Stock exchange were busy again, the bad ass traffic jam was coming back fast –I spent 1.5 hours just to travel in a 8.7 km ride, so silly!— and beautiful Thai girls were seen everywhere. Ups!

That day left me with one more thing to do; visit Bangkok’s leading malls.

The next day was a Wesak day; also a public holiday here in Bangkok. So, I loosen up a bit. At least, traffic jam’s not heavy.

I wanted to have lunch in Siam Paragon’s food court, located on its ground floor. There’s this pork omelet with gravy brown sauce in one stall that always tempted me every time I come here. So, I checked it out again.

I took BTS that always stated as a hassle free method of transport here in Bangkok along with its MRT. Within minutes, I arrived at Siam BTS station. Few days ago, it’s still closed for public because of the riot but now it’s open as usual.

Just after jumped off the train at that station, on the right side instantly I saw the Siam Theater that got burned during the riot. Many people took picture there, probably as the commemoration of being on one site of the riot. The government covered it up. I turned left directly enter the Siam Paragon. Again, the same old memory of this place came in. “Everything’s on its place,” I told myself.

Imagine a leading mall on its busiest day. Siam Paragon had it on that day. Long queue spotted in the cinema at the highest level, Robin Hood was the hit.

And speaking about malls, Siam Paragon was not the only one who has open their space for everyone. Only Central World, Big C Super Centre, and Gaysorn Plaza who haven’t opened their doors. Beside these three names, all shopping centre are back in business. What a speedy recovery, ‘aight?

It showed us all how this nation can smartly ourburst the political issue to be back on track with life normally.

Done with the mall, I decided to take a stroll to the other side of area. And I unintentionally saw this wall of support made from big size of paper glued to the wall. The idea I think was, to let people show their support by writing their thoughts on it. Anything could be written there.

I wrote something there, put the hashtag #AAluvThai that we’d been using during the weekend to broadcast pictures and small quotes directly from Bangkok. This other side was alive, filled with street vendors that weren’t there last January. I didn’t know where they came from and since when they could occupy small spaces there. It was a sign of relieve, once again, although it was actually a bit bothering for street walkers. It’s recovery sign #2!

So, mission completed. I had recorded everything on my task. I came back to the hotel and directly headed to the airport. I travelled with a good taxi driver. He was a bit fluent in English, something considerably rare here in Bangkok. We talked about football and he told me that people here are really up for the upcoming world cup next month. Ah, another sign of recovery! It’s #3.

Thank God, once again, it’s a public holiday. No traffic jams to the airport. In 30 minutes time I found myself lining up in a check in counter. When my turn came, one fellow AllStars on the check in counter smiled at me. “Hey! How are you doing?” she asked me. “Never been better, time to go home,” I chuckled.

I asked her, “How many passengers on the plane tonight?” She replied, “In the list are 93, Sir.”

Wow. It’s around 50% load factor. We’ve been offering some options to those who decided to cancel their trip to and from Bangkok, but in time like these –especially it’s a weekday trip—, finding a 50% load factor is (again) another sign of recovery. Later at the boarding gate, I found many fellow Indonesians going home. Some of them equipped with plastic bags filled with goods that typically Bangkok’s stuff; printed tees, fedora hat and some other things.

I bet those people were having some fun in Bangkok. Sign #4!

Ah, the cabin crew just announced, we’re about to be landed at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. Home is near.

Glad to know that Bangkok is superbly safe and sound. You still want to cancel your trip there because of security reason? Well, think of it again. Cheers, sorry to make the story cut earlier! Blame the pilot. Haha.

Felix Dass
QZ7717 – Bangkok-Jakarta
23.32.
May 28, 2010 – Somewhere in Jakarta’s air.