After spending the previous day looking at temples, and having not done any shopping, Mary’s bargain-bone started tickling her. We’d heard some really great things about the Chatuchak market and decided to check it out on Saturday afternoon.
We hopped on the skytrain and headed North. The commute was easy and uneventful even though we were slightly unsure of which way to turn upon exiting the train. This dilemma was quickly solved by the gaggle of people streaming down the sidewalks in our general direction. We walked upstream.
It was almost 2 pm by the time we officially decided we were in the right place, and also very hungry. Luckily the first street we turned down (sort of an artery into the main market area) offered a great little sidewalk cafe.
When I say sidewalk cafe I mean it in the most literal sense. These are found all over Thailand and consist of some cheap plastic chairs and tables on the sidewalk next to some sort of food cart, and in this case two portable stoves with huge steaming pots on them. Our decision to eat here was based largely on the population of the cafe gentry: Thai.
The food proved delicious – some sort of pork ball in a spicy soup broth that had me licking chops and chopsticks alike. This lot for both of us plus a couple of waters cost roughly $4.
On full bellies we headed into the market. Going into this situation I knew I was in for a lot of looking, waiting, and giving my opinion as Mary proclaimed each shop better than the last! I tried to remind her that we only had what space was left in our backpacks to which she happily replied that she noticed I had more than enough space in my pack should she run out of room.
Mary picked up a black dress and a pair of what I can only describe as ‘Hammer Pants with an apron sewn on the front,’ and I bought some rice cakes from a lady on the street. I thought they were going to be coconut. I can’t explain the disappointment in biting into something expecting a coconut taste and getting a rice taste, other than saying if it were my child it would have issues once it grew up. I left the extras somewhere in a vendor’s market stall.
A few hours had passed and after a quick restroom stop that would’ve put most US highway gas stations to shame, we started to make our way out of the market. Luckily, we passed another stall that caught Mary’s eye!
I told her I was going to head around the corner to browse on my own – grumpy partly that I had to wait for her again, but mostly because I hadn’t found anything to buy for myself.
Darting out of the stall I took a quick left and took maybe 5 steps when I instantly saw my treasure. Like a weathered fisherman spotting a lighthouse in the perfect storm, or a drunk guy spotting a Denny’s at the height of an all night drunk, it practically sang out to me.
Hanging from the tips of a shabby table umbrella was a white t-shirt, depicting Robocop. But not the disciplined and principled kill-machine Robocop you and I know. No, this Robocop is different. He’s obese and happily munching on a donut, coffee in his opposite hand, and smiling merrily as his waist-line heaves with the girth of his rotund belly. $1. I didn’t even bother to try to negotiate.
I can’t even remember what happened the rest of the day I was so excited! Mary got something else, not as cool as my shirt, and we took the train back, to our room for our last night in Bangkok.