Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sunday Morning Following My Nose

Accidental beauty. I continue to be surprised by how easy it is to find amazing sites here in Thailand just by walking out my door and following my nose. Maybe I'm lucky; maybe I have a knack for seeing the novelty and wonder in what others would find mundane. Not to toot my own horn or anything.

Look! A field! Isn't that cool?! Dogs! Bananas growing on the side of the road! Chickens! Trash! Wow!

Get Your Kicks, On Nut 66
I woke up this morning about 6 AM out of cigarettes. The Mom & Pop store on the ground floor of my condo building doesn't open until 7 AM, so I was on the bike to the end of the block to the 24 hr Family Mart.

You can't really see it in the picture, but this corner was the initial inspiration for the music video I made a couple months back: 'Get your Kicks (on Route Sukhumvit)'. This is where On Nut (sidestreet) 66 hits On Nut Road (On NOOT, rhymes with on route) itself.

It was a pleasantly cool morning. I had my camera phone with me. I decided to go on a Sunday Morning drive to see what I could see.

Bananas growing on the side of the road.
On Nut 66 is the main entrance into a part of Bangkok called, appropriately, On Nut 66 Village. Being on the outskirts of town a bit, there are still a lot of open areas in the Village, places where bananas grow on the side of the road.

We're in the city here, but On Nut 66 Village definitely has a bit of a rural feel to it. It's the only part of Bangkok I've been in where being a farang is really noticed. People stare at me as I drive by on the bike. I don't mind. I've motored through this area on a few other occasions, and it's a fascinating little chunk of what the rest of Thailand must be like, isolated in a little chunk of otherwise cosmopolitan Bangkok. It's a place where you can still see traditional Thai-style homes, as you do in the left part of the photo below. 

Traditional style Thai homes are raised up to deal with floods, which also gives you a nice place to park your Toyota.

الله أكبر

Like a lot of East Bangkok, it's somewhat of a Muslim neighborhood. There are more mosques than Buddhist temples.

The sun was just
starting to rise, and I heard roosters crowing from everywhere.

It's definitely Christmas time here in Bangkok. Every business has decorations up. Christmas music (the same tunes you hear in the USA) are playing over the muzak in the department stores. Entire sections of the grocery store are dedicated to decorations and gift baskets. They offer giftwrapping services. I don't know if Thailand has gotten the whole family-coming-together, love-thy-neighbor, be-nice-to-everyone spirit of Christmas, but they certainly have embraced the commercial side of the season.

Styro Claus
It was actually kind of cool then to find this styrofoam Santa deep in the village on a dead-end street. He's seen better days.

“Look, we've got this five-foot-tall Santa out back, I don't care what it looks like! It's going out front!”

I had no idea where I was going. I was just having fun being lost down a bunch of random streets, many of which were dead ends. I adopted a strategy of following other motorcyclists when picking which roads to go down, figuring they had to be going somewhere.

That strategy lead me here. 

Oh my. This is not a safe bridge. It looked sturdy enough, but to cross it, I had to drive over metal rails that were just a bit wider than my tires. One bad wobble and I'd risk crashing into the canal below.

Boy, am I glad I didn't decide to turn around at that point. I stumbled onto Nong Bon. 

I don't know what this sign says. It might read: no motorcyclists allowed. I drove on ahead anyways.

I'd seen this place on maps. It's big. Never really thought to go visit it because with the name “Nong Bon Water Defense Project”, it sounded like some boring percolation pond or something. No, it's a beautiful lake.

Made more beautiful by the sun rising behind it. 

People were out jogging and cycling, enjoying the cool morning air.

Truly breathtaking.

I noticed three or four canals leading into the lake. Bangkok is crisscrossed by canals (khlongs, as they're called here). Each tributary had sophisticated looking locks at its mouth. Yes, this is part of Bankok's flood defense system, so there were waterworks materials throughout, but it's also a spectacular place to see.

What a fortunate Sunday morning drive. 


  1. I'm also happy you kept going. Those are fantastic pictures of the sunrise over the lake.

  2. I love sunrise and sunsets. Don't see many of the first. Sunsets here in San Diego have been fantastic this month. We talk about you often. I hope you can share Christmas with someone.

  3. Lots of snow in NJ today, but got out for a walk with my lab to the pet store -- really enjoyed your post and the pictures. Thanks. Junie Moon


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