Once upon a time, Soi 5 had a big life. It was lined with guest houses and restaurants, massage parlors, and coffee shops. A Thai cooking school sat on one end, adding sounds of laughter and the smell of curry to the neighborhood. Scooters buzzed and tourists gawked, all very close to the heart of the city.
Now it’s almost completely shut. It feels so strange to come and visit, but I do once in awhile if only to check up on the laundry lady.
Her presence makes me feel that all is not lost, that if she can survive, then so can we. Her dwelling is a single room and in it sits her bed, an old TV, and of course, a washing machine.