Day 2: Chatuchak Weekend Market

We are having trouble getting our sleep cycles back to normal. I could not go to sleep until after 4 am last night, and then woke up at 6, went back to sleep at 9, and slept until 2 pm. Not good. Gotta get that sorted out before Monday, when I have to be back at the office.

Anyway, the second day we were there, Sunday the 27th of January, we decided to check out Chatuchak Weekend Market. Some people claim that this is the largest market in Asia, with between 8,000 and 12,000 stalls, depending on where you read. All I know is that it is massive. The nice part is that the Skytrain goes right there; it is at the northern terminus of the longer line.

I think that pretty much anything you want could be found at this market, if you could find it. We had a copy of Nancy Chandlers excellent Bangkok shopping map, which helped a lot, but it was still a challenge. It was packed with people, crowded, stuffy, chaotic and amazing all at the same time. Some people apparently stay here for two whole days. That was far more that we could take, but it is definitely an experience not to be missed. I did buy a small painting for 450 bhat (~$15) which I really like.
There are outdoor sections and covered sections. It is kind of organized into areas (clothing, pets, etc.). We walked through a good part of the market, but I don't think we saw more than a fraction of it.

This is my favorite picture from the market, although I honestly didn't take that many from there. These are fighting roosters for sale. I regret that I didn't try to find out how much they were, because I was very curious about how much a good fighting rooster would cost.
There are also, it is said, often rare and endangered species for sale at the market, if you know where to look and who to talk to. There were some booths with "No Photo" signs posted, but I don't know my species well enough to tell. There were tons of puppies, fish, rabbits, snakes, etc. for sale. Mostly dogs in the section we were in, but I'm sure there were more sections. I saw several times people blow drying fluffy puppies, which was pretty funny.

We had a frankly mediocre lunch at a restaurant in the market. After lunch we walked around for a while longer and then decided to head back to the hotel for a little rest.

After a rest, we had to decide where to get some late lunch/early dinner. This was always a problem in BKK, because we didn't know the area that well, and there were not a ton of places in the immediate area. We decided that we wanted to try a place I had read about called Soi Polo Fried Chicken, which is supposed to be awesome. We asked the guy at the front desk about it, but he didn't know where it was. We then grabbed a taxi that was waiting in front of the hotel (a mistake). We asked the guy about it, but he didn't know it either. After making sure he would use the meter, we asked him to take us to Soi Polo. He did take us there, but we could not find the place. On the way there, of course, he tried to get us to go to his friend's restaurant, his friends tailor shop, and everything else. We drove down Soi Polo once, but like I said couldn't find the place. In any case, after seeing the soi, L didn't want to eat anywhere on the soi. It was not a bad neighborhood, I don't think, but it was certainly not nice or anything. After failing to find the place, we asked the guy to take us to Sukhimvit Road, which is a very popular shopping and eating area. But the guy refused to take us there, saying it was too far, he had to meet his friend, etc. etc. etc! First time that has ever happened. It's not like we weren't willing to pay or anything. I think he was pissed that we wouldn't go to his friend's place After that, we just told him to take us back to the Four Seasons, which is a swank hotel very near our hotel, basically at the intersection of the road out hotel is on and the main road. We chose this because, first, the guy knew where it was, and second, there is an expensive (for BKK) and allegedly good restaurant inside called Spice Market, which we decided to try instead. So that was our adventure with a not so wonderful cabbie. On the whole, it could have been a lot worse, since the entire thing cost us a little time and, like, $2 total, so lesson learned, I guess. I had read in several places that cab drivers in BKK are different than in most cities. Whereas in most cities the cabbies are veterans who know every square inch of their city, including the best restaurants, apparently in BKK are sometimes guys from the countryside who end up driving a cab in the big city after a failed rice crop, family emergency, etc. I'm sure there are some good ones, and if you can find one, you can travel by cab for next to nothing. Traffic (which, as I said, it terrible) would still be an issue, though. Funny thing, too, almost every cab we saw was a Toyota Corolla, slightly modified with a smaller trunk and more back seat area. Says something about Corollas, I guess.

Anyway, when we got to Spice Market, it was kind of mid afternoon, and the buffet was closing in 15 minutes, and the main menu wasn't available for a couple of hours. So we decided to go to Cabbages and Condoms, which is a restaurant run by the Thai Population and Community Development Association, all the proceeds of which go to fund it's activities. The name is based on the founder's belief that condoms should be as cheap as cabbages. The food was good, and we were able to get there easily using the Skytrain, which we now realized is a huge plus. On the way back we found an internet cafe and checked our email. This cafe has a nice feature; you could use an AIM-like application on the desktop to order drinks, which were then brought to your station. Also, it cost a bhat a minute, and since a bhat is worth about three cents, it was a bargain. Two beers and 40 minutes of internet access cost 180 bhat, or around $5. Can't beat that.

Here is a picture of the painting I bought, now hung on my office wall.
That's all for now.



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