I was taking a break at work the other day when a conversation with a colleague got around to my latest holiday in Thailand. We talked about my recent trip to Chiang Mai, a place my friend had previously visited. My friend then asked if there was another South-East Asian country I’d like to see and I replied Vietnam, he suggested Singapore, my answer was ”No it’s too clean” and for a long time after I was deep in thought about why I’d made such a strange statement.
My reply didn’t in any way mean that I’d expect Vietnam to be a dirty country, far from it, I’d imagine it to be very much like Thailand, clean but a bit cluttered and tarnished. Thailand lacks certain rules and regulations which countries like Singapore and most western nations apply rigidly when it comes to littering and general safety practices. And it’s that lack of regimental rules and laws, or at least an adherence to them that make a country like Thailand even more attractive to me. Sometimes the shiny, spic and span of the western world is an ugly sight to see.
Whenever I stay in Udon Thani city I often take to the streets for a walk, be it a trip to a bank or breakfast at a western bar, I’m one of those people who enjoy walking and being wrapped in my own thoughts along the way. I always take my camera with me and on my last stay in Udon Thani I decided to take some photographs of some of the obstructions which block your way when walking the streets of Thailand’s cities and towns.
Obstructions which I assume you wouldn’t see in Singapore due to their stricter laws and regulations.
Two motorbikes, a wheelie bin and a pile of rubble blocked my way here. I squeezed past the bin and around the row of motorbikes to continue my journey.
This path’s width got smaller and smaller as the corrugated fence leaned out over the pathway. The small rubbish bin is blocking the way but it’d take a brave man to move it. It appears to be holding the fence up. I weaved around the parked truck onto the road and rejoined the sidewalk just after it.
This stack of wooden pallets was left unattended for the few days I stayed in Udon Thani city and they left you with little option but to exit the path onto the road.
There’s plenty of space to pass by the caged fighting cock but the round mat behind it was there ready for another cage and cockerel to be put in place leaving no room to pass at all. It would take balls of steel to try stepping over a fighting cock who’s been left to bake in the hot sunshine.
With advertising boards, motorbikes and potted plants blocking the way this footpath turned into a single file route.
The photographs above were all taken one morning in Udon Thani about ten days ago but the picture below was snapped in the same city last year and was what triggered my idea for this post.
If you don’t fall into the hole then there’s every chance you’ll trip over the paving stone and land head first in the pile of rubble. There was no warning sign or safety barrier in sight.
Singapore’s footpaths may be clean and bubble gum free but I much prefer walking and weaving my way through Udon Thani’s streets where you can never be sure what’s going to be blocking your route around the next corner.
© 2011, Martyn. All rights reserved.