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After years of unsustainable and exponential growth in the construction industry during 1990s led to an economic meltdown, countless developers went bankrupt and were forced to abandon their projects. 10 years on, all thatâ??s left of the burst bubble are eerie pockets of the abandoned foundations of skyscrapers and suburban homes to be. While the construction boom may have ended with these structures, the day-to-day lives of Thais seeking to make ends meet continued on and many of Thailandâ??s poorest soon found new homes in other peopleâ??s forgotten dreams.
The Bangkok suburb of Bang Bua Thong, surrounded by marshland and hidden among tangled masses of overgrown grass and tropical vegetation, is the home of several hundred squatters, who occupy the abandoned concrete foundations of two-storey townhouse-style living quarters. In the furthest reaches of the complex, unknown even to many of its inhabitants, live five families with their ten domesticated elephants. As if from a classical tale of days gone by, the elephants live side by side with their handlers, or mahouts. Many of the elephants use the abandoned structures as a jungle gym, clambering in and out of the many rooms, some even climbing the stairs to the second floor.