From Wall St. to Pig St.


The topic of Member Bruce Gordon’s presentation at the Sunday, November 22, meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club was “A Glimpse to the Past with some Bizarre Pictures and Interesting Stories” – or as he liked to call it, “From Wall St. to Pig St.”

One day several decades ago, Bruce decided to take a three-month break from his job as a stock broker so he could do some travelling. “Things were never what they appeared to be,” he said. “We were told one thing, but I saw something different” – like when his firm would issue a buy recommendation on a stock and he would advise his clients to buy it, only to see the stock go down afterwards. It seems that the firm issued these recommendations when they needed to move a block of stock. “It became a pattern,” Bruce said.

Bruce Gordon shares with his fellow PCEC members and guests his photos and experiences in traveling to 60 countries over several decades after he decided to give up his job on Wall Street and travel.

He never went back to that job from his break. Instead, Bruce has been to over 60 countries working as a photographer, running businesses and teaching. Bruce’s presentation consisted of several photographs he has taken during his travels along with some interesting comments and stories about the photo and the country he was visiting. He mentioned that some of the pictures have appeared in magazines, books and other publications.

His first pictures were taken in India and Nepal including photos of billboard ads for cigarettes featuring the Indian version of the Marlboro man and snake oil (literally) salesmen with their concoctions that cured all manner of ills set out on a carpet. Bruce noted that in India, many went to extremes to attract money from tourists including a picture of a boy being wheeled around on a cart dressed up as a Hindu god.

Member Ren Lexander interviews Bruce Gordon after his presentation about going from Wall Street to Pig Street. View the video at com/watch?v=wlqmdGJxjw8.

Also in India, Bruce showed some pictures of the Taj Mahal from the front and the rear, commenting that few tourists ever saw the back, where there is garbage and even bodies floating from upstream where they had been burned. But the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world, and Bruce felt “Everyone should see it.”

In this picture to introduce his topic, Bruce points out that his picture is in the upper left and was taken during his Wall Street days. The other photo Bruce identified as a street in Nepal called Pig Street (various web sites note that in the 60’s and 70’s, this was a center for hippie travellers and at one time contained legal hashish shops).

Another photo taken by Bruce in India was on Holi Day from his hotel balcony. He explained that the festival is not unlike Songkran in Thailand. Only the men participated, Bruce mentioned, and most of them were stoned or drunk or both by evening and it was not safe to go out. Wikipedia describes it as “a free-for-all carnival of colours, where participants play, chase and colour each other with dry powder and coloured water, with some carrying water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for their water fight. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders.”

Volcanic ash coating everything after a volcanic eruption in the Philippines. Bruce mentioned that it takes a long, long time to clean up.

Bruce also was in Bangladesh after a typhoon. He showed photos of US helicopters bringing in rice supplies along with people waiting for the food, and some medical treatment being provided. He showed other photos taken in the Philippines that depicted a large cloud of volcanic ash and the aftermath. Bruce said he was there at the time working for a company. He also showed other pictures and commentary on the results of a typhoon and the practice of some Filipinos in self-flagellation and being nailed to a cross at Easter time.

His presentation included several photos and descriptions of his travels in Vietnam, China, Russia, and the Mount Everest area of Nepal. Bruce described his meeting with his “friend,” Sir Edmund Hillary with whom he was able spend a couple of days. Hillary wasn’t climbing Mt. Everest any more at this point, but he had founded a Trust and through its efforts helped in the building of many schools and hospitals in this remote region of the Himalayas.

After the presentation, MC Roy Albiston brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on Tony Heron to conduct the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.

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This photo was taken by Bruce in India on Holi Day from his hotel window. He explained that the festival is not unlike Songkran in Thailand.