A tale of two cities …A stranger at home ?

Have you ever gone back home after a couple of years away? Did you see things through new eyes ? I am back in Australia for a couple of weeks, to attend the wedding of some friends and to do some personal business, for the first time in nearly two years. I had forgotten what cold was ! The first day here in Sydney was nice and sunny, but since then it has been cold and wet …..ok, maybe not cold to some people but when you have been living in shorts and t-shirts it certainly seems cold !

Since being here I have noticed little things that I never did before. Riding into town from the airport during the morning rush hour the first thing that I noticed was how drably everybody was dressed compared to on Bangkok’s Skytrain during the rush hour there. Is all the black and grey a reflection of the weather here ?

7/11s…when you walk into a Thai 7/11 the staff chorus “sawadee ka” (hello) whenever a customer walks in, here all they do is gruffly tell you the cost…..give me your money and get out of here. Needless to say you cannot buy beer at the 7/11 here, and only a fraction of the snacks and instant meals that you can in Bangkok. And when did they put security grills over the counters here ? I never noticed them before.

Quite a few times I have caught myself looking both ways before crossing a one way street here, a habit you get into in Thailand because there is no true one way street there …. Thais have no qualms about riding a motorbike against the traffic flow, or even on the footpath.

Thailand has it’s share of beggars, but there are also plenty here in Sydney to an extent that I never really noticed before. Beggars on the street corners, homeless people sleeping rough outside McDonalds, a tent village in the park near where I am staying. Were they here before and I just never noticed ?

Bangkok’s population is about 10 million more than that of Sydney, but it has less big city hustle and bustle than Sydney has. Everybody here is in such a rush, no beg your pardons as they shoulder you out of the way ! One good thing that Sydney has introduced since I left is the OPAL card for public transport, one prepaid card covers bus, train and ferry trips, just tap on and tap off. What’s more there are daily and weekly limits on your costs….do 8 paid trips in a week and any more that week are free, $15 per day max, $2.50 limit on Sundays. And not just in Sydney, but it also covers bus and train in Newcastle area, trains all the way out to the Blue Mts or down to Woollongong. So I saved myself quite a few dollars when I went back “home” to Maitland for the wedding. 

Bangkok has been talking about a joint card for the MRT subway and Skytrain for years without any progress.

When people have heard I live in Bangkok the first thing that many have talked about is the recent bombing. Coupled with recent political strife everybody seems to think I am living dangerously by being there. From reading the local Sydney newspapers I reckon there is more risk to life and limb here, the pages are full of bashings, muggings and road accidents. 

I have finished most of my business here, just one more appointment left this week. I am still tossing up whether to try and change my flight back to a few days earlier, maybe go somewhere else, or should I just veg out here ? šŸ˜€

About Mike

A recently retired "Baby Boomer" , looking forward to having more time for my photography and travel.
This entry was posted in Latitudes and attitudes, Random musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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