''Blood Moon At The Ghost Tower'' August 03 2016

A real life story from Cornelius, The Gypsy Viking

I was tired of everything, really. After half a year of slowly going through the different parts of South East Asia, I felt I had seen it all. The waterfalls and the caves of northern Laos, the amazing karst limestone formations of Vietnam’s Halong Bay, the massive ancient city of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I had come back to Bangkok after weeks of destroying my liver at the full moon party rave party scene in Koh Phangan, and I was even tired of having fun. I was longing for something different. Bangkok’s Khao San Road area is a loud and noisy place where tourists and backpackers go every day to get drunk on cheap buckets and get tricked into eating scorpions and maggots by laughing Thais. I sometimes like it, but I needed something else.

That’s when I heard of the Ghost Tower. It was meant to be a luxury apartment high rise for rich people, but when the asian economy fell into a deep crisis in 1997, the company building the skyscraper, which as at that time 80% finished, lost it’s funding, and it was abandoned. Unlike the other shiny temples of Bangkok who stands as monuments to Buddhism, this is a monument to mans hubris. And, unlike the other attractions of Bangkok, there was no entrance fee. Only a backyard to sneak through and a fence to climb, and we were inside. 

Lovely, they say. Another level up, and this is the message:

The building seemed solid enough. Built in solid armed concrete, I hope it will stay as a monument to failing finances and projects that never was finished. Going up the stairs, each level seemed much like the same, but here and there, there was a water flooded part with small frogs jumping around, and on the balconies high grass had put down roots. Give it another hundred years, and I guess such an abandoned skyscraper could turn into an entire ecosystem of its own, with trees and bushes, birds, rats, bats and cats who manage to clime the crumbling concrete.

We were told that we shouldn’t worry too much about the authorities, since the Thai police treats it a bit like a no-go zone. Not because it is full of criminals, but because they think it’s haunted by evil spirits. More than one suicide has taken place in the winding corridors of the 47 stories, and it would take days to look into all the rooms. Well, the top was the target, so we skipped most of the floors to get to the top before sunset. 

The top level seemed to been hit hardest by the weather, and iron rods stuck out from the concrete everywhere, and you actually had to climb to get to the uppermost level. But there, as the sun came down in the west, the blood red moon rose in the east. This was the night of the lunar eclipse on the 4th of April 2015, and seeing the red sun set on one side, with a red moon rising on the other side finally gave me the feeling of doing something truly unique, something that can’t be copied or relived. I guess that is what we are all searching for, dreaming of, even the clerk with his routine job longs for something unique to happen. It was the reason I left my home and started traveling, and the reason I still do it. 

The chances of something extraordinary happening at home is still there, but when you actively seek them out, the chances multiply, and you can fill your life with the stories most people can’t tell. In the viking age, stories was a valued commodity, and a new story from distant lands was worth more than gold. Now, when information crosses the planet in milliseconds, it still seems that we are blasted with the same stories over and over again. Go look for your own, unique stories. Those have real value.

"Build me up, tear me down, like a skyscraper".

-Bad Religion, "Skyscraper", from the "Recipe for Hate"-album, 1993.