Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chatuchak Market

If you were only going to be in Bangkok for a single day, you should spend most of that day at Chatuchak Market. This is one of the world's largest weekend markets and it is seriously awesome. That statement means a lot coming from me, daughter of Nancy Jackson, who hates shopping and crowded places. This is why I recommend going in the morning. After we had lunch, by about 2:00 the crowd was starting to get seriously unreasonable.

The reason I decided this is the place to go if you only have a day in Bangkok is because it has EVERYTHING. It gives you a little peek into everything that is Bangkok. Food on food on food. Every kind you can imagine. There is also no shortage of souvenirs. You can find anything from the goofiest knick-knacks like a butt-shaped toilet paper dispenser to the most beautiful art including huge murals and sculptures. You can also find a ton of everyday useful stuff. There are vintage clothes, new clothes, shoes, jewelry, leather products, books, kitchenware, essential oils, spices, and soooooooo much more. There is even an entire section dedicated to "creatures," as it says on the map. This includes everything from roosters, to puppies and kittens, to snakes, to sugar gliders. It is ridiculous. To me really, beside a few temples, this is Bangkok: food and shopping. I dislike cities, so maybe this is just my perspective but to me Bangkok's most redeeming factor is that if you need something, you can buy it; if you are hungry, just look around you there will be food and lots of it.

So, today Julie and I went to the market. Sadly, I forgot to take any pictures due to the serious sensory overload I was experiencing. So I will need to go back and remember next time. The downside of visiting such a huge market is while you may be able to buy anything there, you probably won't be able to find anything. So you can't really go with any specific purchases in mind, or you will end up really frustrated. And if you find something you really like, and you haven't seen something similar in 10 other shops already, you should probably buy it right then, because if you decide to mull it over and come back later, you probably won't be able to figure out where you found it. Unfortunately Julie and I went to look for souvenirs but also to find knives. She had previously been to what seemed like the only knife shop in the whole market, but had lost the little business card indicating its location and thus we had to go off her vague memory of the location. Eventually we found it, thankfully. I bought myself a pretty knife and a small use in the forest of course! There were so many options for food that Julie and I had to walk around looking for 15 minutes until we finally just committed to splitting some quail eggs over easy and spring rolls with watermelon and mango for dessert! After we ate we sort of slowed down quite a bit and it was starting to get crowded so we called it a day and headed back to the hotel for a rest.

my new weapons!

We left the hotel at around 8pm to go to the Sky Bar. We stopped for dinner along the way at a place that sold only mysterious noodle dishes. the place we wanted to go (which had more choices) had no available tables. At this place you could have your noodles dry or with broth, you could have three different shapes/sizes of rice noodles or egg noodles, but your choices ended there. No matter what, your bowl of noodles came with a mysterious assortment of meat and/or fish products. I really don't know how else to classify these. I think I've described fish balls on this blog before, well there was one fish ball (like a meatball made with mystery fish parts), and various other shapes of similar things, compressed ground up something. There was also a few dumpling-looking things, but those weren't great either. I avoided most of this and ate the noodles, the bean sprouts and the few real slices of chicken and bits of ground pork. After that we headed to the State Tower (2nd tallest building in Thailand) and went up to the Sky Bar. There is a dress code; basically for women it is just "no ugly flip flops." Upon reaching the 63rd floor we  were ushered onto a terrace and ordered drinks. We paid an arm and a leg, but for just one drink and the view it is worth it, plus they give you free pistachios (yum) and olives (yuck) to snack on. After we finished our drinks we headed over to the other part of the bar, which had a better view. There were tons of foreigners and it was really odd to hear so many Americans speaking. Being in Bangkok has actually been sort of a (reverse) culture shock. Its weird seeing and hearing so many "farangs." I guess it is going to be REALLY weird to go back to the States and see them EVERYWHERE.

Today was the most exciting of our trip to Bangkok. We got here Thursday evening and I spent pretty much all of Friday at the immigration office extending my visa. When I got back to the hotel I ate dinner at Pizza Hut alone because Julie was still busy getting tattooed for over 5 hours. So she had a long day too. Tomorrow morning we are going to have a relaxing morning and leave here around 11am. It has been a good trip, but 3 days in Bangkok is enough, I am ready to go back to the park.

This was a cool ice cream thing I got the other night. They pour the liquid ice cream onto a really cold surface and then mix in two goodies of your choice (white chocolate chips and brownies for me). They spread it into a thin layer as it freezes and then they scrape it up in little rolls and put it in a bowl and decorate it for you. Yum!

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