The Shopping Never Waivered – in the Land of Smiles.
We’d descended the stairs from the Skytrain at Mo Chit station, in the rising April heat, just 3 hours after landing in the Thai capital Bangkok. At 8.30am, we made our way from the busy street frontage into the bustling Chatuchak Weekend Market., spread over 35 acres of land in the north of the city. Luckily, we only made a modest incursion into the 15,000 stalls and a couple of it’s 27 diverse sections. We made it ahead of the 200,000 visitors who throng there daily.
From the moment we arrived, until we left some 2 hours later against the flow, my sister Janet, eyes popping at the sheer variety of elephant patterned trousers at 100 baht, the shopping began in earnest. Unable to believe just how cheap everything was compared with the UK, she vacuumed up all before her. This one, for our sister June; those for the grand-children. The shopping was to continue apace until safely through check-in for the TG 916 at Savarnabhumi Airport 19 days later, determined to resist at all costs the glittering array of designer goodies, they made their way to the departure gate and home.
Still not believing that she was in an Asian bargain basement, some days later Janet was joined by my wife Runge, after we’d crossed the Cha Prya river from Wat Arun, stopping at an Aladdin’s cave neither of them could ignore. The polite lady owner must have thought that all her Christmases had come at once, as they scooped up small coloured fabric elephants, key-rings and other souvenirs, negotiating favourable price reductions and loading up their ‘porters’ – Richard and Tony. ‘
Wanting to visit the weekend market had meant a quick turn round on arrival at the Eastin Grand Hotel, after checking in. We decided to pack a great deal into the first day and having arrived at a busy hotel before most guests had checked out, we piled on to the adjacent Skytrain. Not surprisingly we arrived back at the hotel after a couple of hours and still had a little time before the rooms were ready. The comfortable sofas in the foyer were not wasted !
SONGKRAN CELEBRATRIONS IN THE STREETS
YET TO COME – A Glimpse
Richard and Janet’s first taste of Thailand had been hot ( 41c – feels like 50 ); strong spices, chillies and Rambutan – no problems there; swaying along atop an elephant by the River Kwai; scrambling up the steps from the railway from hell, at Hintok’s Hellfire Pass. None of this phased either of them. Being honorary members of a Thai family, attending a magical Thai wedding. This heady mix of experiences had been a fabulous introduction, leaving them wanting more – soon !
Words & Pictures : Tony Knight photography & MEDIA
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