Take the main highway east into Bangkok's sprawling suburbs and the nose of a massive Boeing 747 suddenly looms up meters from the roadside. The scrapped jetliner is the largest of a number of decommissioned planes scattered across the grassy lot, and while their passenger-carrying days are long over, their part-dismantled bodies now provide shelter for some of the city's otherwise homeless.
The privately owned field, which is sandwiched between the busy thoroughfare and a pungent canal in Ramkhamhaeng district, makes for an unlikely aircraft graveyard, but it has become the final resting place for more than half a dozen passenger jets. They dot the stretch of wasteland in various states of disassembly, all gutted for parts and scrap, but some retain a semblance of their original shape with a few original fixtures still remaining, including flight controls, dangling oxygen masks, and decrepit lifejackets.
Others, however, have been used to make concrete-floored huts which are now home to a number of families unable to afford the accommodation in nearby tower blocks. These makeshift abodes are far from luxurious — there's no water or electricity, and the air is thick with noise and pollution — but they provide some shelter for their inhabitants, many of whom's only source of income is collecting garbage for recycling.
Bangkok is home to more than 8 million people and, while poverty rates are lower than the rest of the country, income inequality is high, partly due to the city's draw for unskilled migrants from rural areas and nearby countries. These new arrivals sometimes struggle to make ends meet while living alongside the Thai capital's wealthier inhabitants.
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