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Our recent meal in Bangkok of a five-and-a-half-pound hamburger may make Thailand seem like a wonderland of unparalleled decadence, but it’s only one facet of life in The Land of Smiles. Not everyone in the Thai capital spends their days chowing down on massive piles of beef, as we visited a neighborhood with a train line running right through the middle of it.

In Japan, a lot of cheap apartment are built close to the train tracks, sometimes with the cars rolling by a dozen feet or so from a back window. There isn’t even that much clearance, though, in this section of Bangkok, with homes built right up against the track without any sort of protective retaining wall between them.

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This was our Japanese-language reporter Kuzo’s second trip to the neighborhood, as he also stopped by six years ago. Just as before, he found the residents going about their daily business, seemingly unperturbed by their incredibly close proximity to the rail line.

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Those who live in the area are so used to the occasional passing of trains that daily life resembles a street hockey game. When a train is coming, everyone calmly moves out of the way, then moves back to reoccupy the area above the tracks once the carriages have passed, resuming their daily routines.

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As the residents’ only empty stretch of land, the rails also serve as the major pedestrian thoroughfare. Since ease of access is one of the necessities of commerce, even young kids strolling down the tracks like they’re a sidewalk on their way to the local store to buy some candy.

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Kuzo even spotted babies napping in cradles placed by the tracks, not to mention dogs and cats sleeping next to the path of the rumbling trains.

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To those fortunate enough to have a more comfortable living arrangement, this seems like an incredibly dangerous, stressful lifestyle, but Kuzo reports the atmosphere among the residents is remarkably calm, as everyone seems to have adopted the mentality that as long as you make sure not to get hit by the train, there’s nothing to worry about. He even noticed homes with satellite TV dishes, something we can definitely see the appeal of here. After all, maximizing your entertainment options with as many channels as possible becomes all the more important if your plans to go out and play in the backyard sometimes gets preempted by a train running through it.

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Photos: RocketNews24
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