There and back again, as the Hobbit wrote.
I am no Hobbit, far from it. I am more than 3 feet tall, 5 feet 6 inches just to clarify. I don’t have hairy feet-well not permanently- and my ears are a normal, non-pointy size.
What I do have in common with hobbits is that I like to have adventures. Not adventures in the escaping orcs and dragon kinds, but adventures in that I like to explore my surroundings. Maybe “adventure” is the wrong word because it’s more like walking but it’s my adventure all the same.
So, I like to walk. I walk everywhere. I think you see a whole lot more on your own two feet than if you are stuck on public transport trying to get somewhere.
I have lived in Bangkok for almost a year and every week, on my day off, I go to the other side of the city and engage myself in trying to learn the language. Afterwards, I walk.
I normally have some sort of plan of where I am going. I don’t just walk aimlessly but I must have walked over 100 km in the past few months. I started a project researching Bangkok’s European Heritage-more of that at a later date-and I have walked around the city taking photographs of monuments, parks and temples and visiting museums, bridges and railway stations. But wherever I have gone, I have walked.
100 km may sound like a bit of an exaggeration but I bet it’s not far off, it might be even more. Take a couple of weeks ago. I got off the BTS at Victory Monument, walked along Petchaburi Road, continued all the way along Lan Luang, onto the Democracy Monument. Passed that, to Saranrom Park and Wat Ratchabophit and back again. I didn’t stop there. I was on a mission to find the Royal Thai Army Museum but the armed guards kept telling me different things. I gave up with that. I walked to a couple of other places before catching the boat to get the BTS again to go home. I clocked the journey when I got home and I had walked 14 km. That’s just in one day. And I have been doing the same sort of thing for the last few months. Not bad eh?
Some say I am mad. They say “that’s what public transport was invented for.” But for me I just love walking places.
When I first moved to Bangkok I only knew a small part of it but now I have found my bearings a lot more, and I can easily picture the different districts in my mind. I just know where things are now, and how to get there. I can’t take all the credit for my new found knowledge. I have had some help in the form of Google maps. Before leaving home, most of the time, I check the route to take. Bangkok is a huge city you know.
As I said at the beginning I don’t come face to face with dragons, orcs or friendly wizards but my “There and back again” is an adventure of my own.
If only the hobbits had Google maps. They maybe would have found an easier way to get where they were going- and, of course, back again!