There is a Bangkok smell. It’s the smell of smoke from the rickety old public buses that are slowly being replaced by shiny, LED-lighted ones. It’s the smell of meatballs cooked on a seasoned grill on a little movable stall along the street. It’s the smell of clogged canals, the smell of rotting plastic bags and bottles, the smell of sweat from hard day’s work, the smell of chanel perfume on a high-so girl carrying the latest LV bag, which has a new leather smell as well.
And I fell in love with this smell three years ago. I tell my friends that everytime I come back to Bangkok, I feel like I’m coming back home. But the strange thing about a place is that it can never love you back. Its sights and sounds might seem familiar to you, and it would trigger memories, both good and bad, that you are reluctant to let go of.
I fell in love with Bangkok because I grew up a lot within the five months that I was here alone, studying and travelling. I tested my limits, was almost fearless in wherever I wanted go, and I came out of the experience so happy, and wanting for more.
But I know that Bangkok has changed in the years that I’ve not visited it. It seems like there are more unhappy people, but that’s just a hunch. This place, once a home to me, is now just a place that I sadly, come to just for work. I might visit friends, talk to cab drivers, say hi to the aunty who sold me oreo baan, but that’s all I am for now, a visitor, a traveller, yearning for past memories of the city that are only present in my mind.