Sunday, March 26, 2017

Trip Thoughts: Transportation, Housing

I have been thinking of the best way to handle my stay in Thai for 6 months. What would work out the best economically-physically for me and what would lead to the best film and photos.

I am currently thinking of having 2 rented rooms, 1 in Mae Sot and 1 in Bangkok. I could split my gear-suitcases and the like between locations, no hotels needed. It would cost more to initially set up, requiring me to find furnished places and buy things like bedding and towels etc. If I could find apartments with rudimentary kitchens I could save a bit on food and cook for myself. Eating well in the mornings is important especially at 5am when I get up for a day of shooting the families. I could actually have a real meal before I leave.

With 2 rooms rented I could travel light and easy on the overnight bus between Bangkok and Mae Sot, Mae Sot and Bangkok. I could leave clothes film and photo gear etc in both places (for multiple projects) and travel very simple during the long bus rides. Lugging around suitcases and heavy  gear in Thai is exhausting, with this plan I could eliminate much of that effort. As to cost, renting 2 rooms might be the same cost or possibly cheaper than doing hotels. Even if it costs a bit more, it might be worth it. The convenience of it would also be nice. I can be a rich movie star for a while with multiple residences :).

As to transportation, Bangkok is easy with buses, taxis, subway and sky train but Mae Sot is more problematic. Everything is sort of far away on dirt roads and I will be lugging around camera-film gear including a large 8x10 with tripod and holders. In the past Khune Noy has driven me to and from the dump in in his truck. I still want to use his services (200 baht a day) but also wanted to be more mobile and free. I am thinking of renting a automatic motorcycle in Mae Sot (never Bangkok). Driving a motorcycle in Thailand is dicey, I have done it on maybe 10 of my past trips. People often die riding motorbikes in Thailand but having one would allow me to go where ever I want, whenever I want. I could get to places that I could not with Khune Noy (or at least it would be more difficult) and I could explore and find people to photograph. I would need to be very careful and I would need to find a way to mount my tripod/head to the motorbike so both my hands are free for driving. I could carry any camera gear I need in a nice used backpack I got from my friend Larry ($180 dollar North Face black backpack, very well made).

Not sure if I will go this way, but it is fun to think and plan. Sitting in my hot bath tub today it was more fun to make these plans than to think about another 12 hour night shift in the guardhouse. Got my 35mm gear here at work today, trying to make early final choices there. Testing it in the bag for weight and convenience also. Am really looking forward to my 6 months of creative freedom.