When I was little, my favorite book was called The Boxcar Children. In it, a group of four orphaned siblings find an old boxcar in a forest and make it their home. The story captivated me in ways I never imagined and it felt like a call to action for seven year old me to leave my golden cage of My Little Pony bedsheets and return to the forest, return to the time when I was a forager, a hunter. To a time when I was wild.
I didn't want to become an orphan, but the idea of independence and discovering a lost structure and making it my own thrilled me. After I finished the book, I looked for any excuse to storm off in to the woods by our house. I even went so far as to have my Teddy Ruxpin and green blanket I had since birth on standby and ready to go in the heat of the moment. I always imagined going out in a blaze of glory and daydreamed about my final speech, "That's it! Me and Teddy are going to go eat cherries off the tree and cool our milk bottles in a waterfall like the Boxcar kids!" My mom had no idea how close she was to pushing me over the edge as I was one chore too many away from becoming the resourceful, feral child I thought myself to be.
“But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called -- called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.”
― Jack London, The Call of the Wild
I never did return to the forest. But this was the beginning of my love affair for everything forgotten and then rediscovered.
Here in Thailand, I'm able to indulge in my childhood fantasies again as the entire country is continually under construction which means that if something goes belly up, there's no real hurry to tear it down (unless it goes viral like our last abandoned excursion!) as all resources are diverted elsewhere. Plus, the general attitude of Thailand is that if you get hurt because you do something stupid then its your own damn fault so there's no real breaking and entering involved, you just walk right up to it and there it is! No one is going to protect you from yourself, and I love that about this place.
So, with a healthy dose of personal responsibility, we trek in to an abandoned hotel to explore this deserted wonderland.
ROOFTOP / TWELFTH FLOOR
"Charlie, Charlie, are you there?"
Thai's believe in ghosts (lots of different ghosts!) and it's a big part of their everyday lives as they make daily offerings for spirits and you can't go anywhere in this country without seeing a spirit house. I mention this because "Charley/Charlie" graffiti was everywhere in this hotel. Shannon (who is also an English teacher) said that her students play a game called "Charlie Charlie" where they create an Oiuji board out of pencils and ask a little Mexican ghost named Charlie yes or no questions. Not sure if someone was trying to summon Charlie or if this was just a tag name, but it's always fun to lurk in abandoned buildings as the walls are a blank slate where locals can express their cultural reality. Oh, and if I had to choose a favorite ghost, I choose Krasue (กระสือ) as she's just a head with her internal organs hanging down from her neck as seen in this Thai commercial for lightbulbs.
THIRTEENTH FLOOR / THE BAR
ROOFTOP / SUNSET
We planned our visit so that we could watch the sun go down from rooftop. This turned out to be a great decision. A really great decision.
BASEMENT / BOTTOM FLOOR
Oh, did I forget to mention that this place has a basement?!? We ran out of light this time, but we'll be back...
Thanks for exploring with us!