Bangkok is vibrant and noisy, pulsating with life. Between the high-rise office and apartment blocks, the streets are crammed with cars, buses and tuk-tuks. Countless food stalls serve steaming bowls of curry, spicy soups and grilled fish. Market traders peddle gaudy fabrics, counterfeit designer clothing, traditional masks and wood carvings. Tourists and locals haggle loudly over the prices.
The hustle and bustle is all too much for Somchai; he likes the quiet. He comes from the provincial city of Chiang Rai, in an unspoiled mountain region in the north of the country. Now that the course is ending, he can’t wait to go back home. He has an 11-hour bus journey ahead of him.
The young man met his partner – a man from Germany – at a friend’s birthday party. There’s quite an age gap between them, but that doesn’t bother Somchai. What does worry him is the lack of a common language. At the moment, they communicate in a mixture of broken English and German, which often leads to misunderstandings. Somchai hopes that things will improve when he and his partner are together and can read the expression in each other’s eyes.
Somchai is determined to prepare for his new life. He does a lot of sport, to improve his fitness so his body acclimatises more quickly to the different temperatures in Germany. He reads books about Germany, asks his partner lots of questions, and tries his best to understand the more puzzling aspects of this foreign culture.
Planning his future career is more of a challenge, but Somchai has always been flexible where work is concerned. After studying marketing, he owned a small souvenir shop. Then he worked as a secretary, and his last job was in a bank. Now his future is wide open. Anything seems possible: at the moment, his life seems as colourful and exciting as the streets of Bangkok.