I was up before 8 in the morning. It was a Saturday which meant a trip to Chatuchak. No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a day at this wonderful wonderful market. I still had a Fri night hangover from partying at G.O.D till about 4 in the morning. Thank god it was literally just outside my hotel so walking back home and getting to bed was easy.
Shopping wasn’t really my priority having bought some stuff at Siam Square. Opposite the Siam Center and Siam Paragon, Siam Square is a complex of 4 sois of small independent botiques. With everyone in the mall, the square offered quiet and slow shopping. Something that is so rare in Bangkok with its droves of harried shoppers that sometimes look like energizer bunnies out for the latest bargain find. I was able to score a couple of really unique printed shirts that I didn’t think I would find anywhere else.
So with only around THB2,000 in my wallet, I vowed to keep my spending in Chatuchak at that range. Food included. Thinking is always vastly different from doing especially when faced with endless amounts of items that scream “TAKE ME” and “YOU WOULD PAY TRIPLE FOR THESE IF YOU BUY THEM IN MANILA IF YOU THEY EVEN HAVE IT THERE.”
As always, no matter how hard I try to put some order on how I’m gonna attack the aisles, I always end up going around in circles, backtracking, and generally getting lost. Anyway, half the fun in navigating this landmark of a weekend market is digging deep in itsbowels and surfacing with a smile, laods of stuff, and a wallet with enough change for the BTS ride back.
I skipped the hotel breakfast so eating was my main agenda as soon as I got to the market. After all, think of JJ, as the locals call it, as one big umbrella of everything you would find at a Bangkok hawker stalls with less pollution but with more people trying to elbow you out for that last precious table and seat. I had a really heavy brunch of papaya salad, grilled isan sausages, and fried noodles served in clay plates and washed-down with a cold bottle of
sugarcane juice. The papaya salad was made even more delicious with the addition of a small black crab that also added a crunchy texture to the greens. It felt weird, though, crushing the crab and mixing it with the papaya. I could still see its big bulging eyes. I felt like a butcher slaugtering it. Never mind if it had been dead hours before I even got there. The isan sausage had a spicy and herbal taste to it.
It was comforting to see some that one of my favorite food stalls, JJ Spring Rolls, was still there dispensing those delicious fried treats— pork toast, taro corn, black beans, taufu, spring rolls and their really delicious sweet sauce with crushed peanuts. I missed the stall selling huge slabs of fried pork belly.
I didn’t really shop much. My stash only yielded a pair of really cool shirts and some funky shirts. One great find I got was a fashionista take on the backpacker regulation fisherman pants. Dispensing the waist tie-around, it had buttons that were strategically placed to cinch the waist and yet keep the fisherman pants silhouette and look. Plus it’s violet. I also got a pair of shorts withblack polka dots.
With crowds quickly filling-up the alleys and more stalls taking up precious pedestrian space, and me going around in circles more and more, I decided I have had enough, Time to surface and head back to airconditioned comfort.
Back at the hotel, rested a bit then went to my favorite malls–Siam Center and Siam Paragon. I went to Greyhound but the clothes on sale were definitely not gonna fit either me or my budget. Last year, they had cool pants with Marilyn Monro prints. The clothes seemed more subdued this year, at least from what I saw on the racks. I still haven’t worn the shorts I bought from Jaspal last year so I skipped the store. Two of the shops I went to last year, the one where I bought my really cool jeans with holes and ringlets and the other one where I got my pyschedelic striped shirts seemed to have been gone. Siam Paragon is of course, interesting to me only because of its lovely food court with an astonishing array of all the things I have ever and will continue to love and cherish to eat. I bought some potato balls and fried banana wrapped in sticky rice and headed to the plaza between the two malls. It was nearing dusk and the glass tree was lit, changing colors from blue to green to pink. The air was cool and the holiday decors were all lighting-up. Great day.