Three months ago destiny brought me to Bangkok. Arriving in Suvarnabhum airport, I was just amazed to see non-roman writings anywhere. If I was in Holland, I would still be able to read the marks on boards or headlines in a newspaper even though I don’t know the meanings. But here, the sudden feeling of being illiterate led to further feeling of threat and anxiety on top of not knowing the meaning of those words.
Fortunately, they put English words following that thai letters. Later in my venture in this country, I find some places that turn me to a complete illiterate guy. No roman letters. Not even one! If I was in Russia, I still could probably read a name of a city written in a bus station though it would be a struggle. But I couldn’t even recognize which ‘Bangkok’ was in the schedule board I stared one day in a province bus station, let alone read it. I would face the same problem if I was in China or Korea or Cambodia, I believe. Challenging!
Here I am now. I stay in a rented room in a building lies on Rama 4 Road, Bangkok, just three minutes away from another building I called ‘office’. I spent some of my time there, a room about 60 meters above the ground; it’s a room where I stay if I’m not out for working or traveling.
It’s kinda new experience for me to stay on a high rise building other than working. I work at 9th floor of 25 storey building. So in average, I just spend about 2-3 hours a day, stepping exactly on earth for: walking from room to office, lunch, dinner, walking back to room. Elevator is a constant transport mode and so calorie burning faces a major challenge in this kind of life.
There is a bit of worry feeling to spend much of time in some tens of meters above the ground in a building (I don’t mind a mountain), remembering that I’m an Indonesian and have experienced some earthquakes in hometown while I was few storeys high. It is not everybody’s favorite to be in a high building when an earthquake strikes.
At the time Tasikmalaya was shaken, I was in Jakarta office (at 6th floor). It was not too bad but enough to make some people lost their logic to take the elevator to go down. At the time of Padang earthquake, I was in Singapore office (at 23rd floor), not hard but enough for us to sense the tremor. It’s a constant earthquake threat for Indonesia and people don’t expect to be at the wrong location/building when the we-don’t-know-when earthquake happens. Me neither.
Fortunately, as I learn later, earthquake is not mother nature’s habit here in Thailand. Even though they do some earthquake response drills in the north (Chiangmai, etc), but country’s attention is brought mainly to tackle issues on floods, droughts, fires, and landslides. As such, living high is for now acceptable.