NB: Geographies are distorted by culture, politics, capitalism etc. Spatial relations are always relative / in flux.
Wikipedia entry says the shrine is located next to the (more significant landmark?) Grand Hyatt hotel – also the Skytrain station (tourist advice).
ALSO: ‘The hotel’s construction was delayed by a series of mishaps, including cost overruns, injuries to laborers, and the loss of a shipload of Italian marble intended for the building. Furthermore, the Ratchaprasong intersection had once been used to put criminals on public display.’ ?
A cloth-wrapped pipe. Worshippers. A street full of tourists. Anti-government. Blood and chaos. Hospitals overburdened.
Out he went again, tearing down the road with his mother shouting for him to stop and stay. He ran to the wooden bridge over the stream, gathering pebbles and gravel along the way and filling his pockets with them. Leaning over the wooden handrail, he gazed into the water, which was made murky by recent floods. Then he dropped the stones in, one by one, hearing them plop as they hit the surface, watching the splash, and seeing them disappear in the blink of an eye, never once asking himself why he had ever begun to play this game.
He spent an hour removing pictures from the bedroom wall. Images of icons, cars, animals, slogans, pin-ups, friends. He saved the blu-tack from the corners of each piece of paper and combined them into a ball. He put the pictures into a black bin liner, then he took the ball of blu-tack and dabbed it across the wall, removing any stubborn sticky debris. But the wall was pock-marked. Stains remained; blemishes that would never disappear. It was like a desert terrain, marked for ever by the craters of missiles and bombs once used to hold up some culture, some ethos.
No. There is a tightening in my chest. Something is wrong. My brother’s frail arm disappears into the dark. I step back and pin myself to the wall. Some voices are shouting from the rooftops – then a whistling sound, like a mechanical scream – it comes. The billowing dust – three streets away – and then the earsplitting boom. I cannot move. Cymbals and drums, cymbals and drums, I say to myself, echoing the sound. I am blinking. Shattering bombs. And then silence, no sirens. It is not good. Then a child’s cry, a mother’s shout. Just stay. Empty street. Wall. Me. Terror.
The street is empty. There is no petrol for cars anyway. Across the street my brother waits, his head peeking round a doorway, ushering come, come. I see the whites of his eyes but can’t tell whether he is pleased to see me, or scared, petrified. The rule is that if you leave and return you don’t expect everything to have remained the same. You never know what you will find. My brother frantically signals above. There are snipers on the roofs but we don’t know whose they are. I look left and right and step out into the road.
When the train stops, time stops; that’s what they say around here. Worlds end and the unimaginable begins. We are smoked out into knowledge from the dark and the dust.
But we are inconsistent, hypocritical, shallow. In other cities the same trains stop and the same people wait, forever at the platform. Frozen in grief as the world flashes by in a crimson kaleidoscope of glass shards.
We file by as events parade past – escalators to opposite outcomes.
This afternoon I found one of your hairs on the floor. I picked it up. But you are no longer here.