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April 26, 2007 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

Bangkok notes 04/26/2007

Sarongs are circular pieces of fabric. Men’s sarongs must be checkered or flannel print, otherwise it’s a women’s sarong. If you get one that is a long striped piece of fabric that you tie and then tuck part of the knot into the waist then you have a pakokwam, which seems to be a towel or a type of swimwear (just checked it’s a towel). Sarongs are country in Thailand and they are also informal. While fun, some of the city looks down on them. Men’s sarongs are a little hard to find, Bo Bae market which is a few blocks walk from National Staduim is the best place for them.

Lat Phrao Night Market is perhaps one of the more interesting markets. When you approach Lat Phrao station you’ll see it, it looks like a race track with spare tires suggesting a course. Sells bike parts, vintage LPs, and some toys. The lot becomes full of vintage VW Buses around 9 on Saturdays and Fridays, I’m not sure if anyone uses the lot to race, but it definitely looks like people do race on the course everyonce in awhile. Most of the Thai car modders have a rockabilly thing going on and booming jounts of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and other us country escalate through dirty tofu, used car stereo parts, hand bars with embossed skulls, and vintage thai car mod mags. Worth a look for the sheer specialization.

Talat Thewes is north of the BTS and MRTs that mark Bangkok, but is right on the river near the Rama V Bridge a tad bit north of the Wat-tourist line people usually use. It is however 2 – 3 solid blocks of native thai flowers segmented by bayou and the occasional restaunt (In Love is apparently a nancy chandler favorite).  This is different than the chinatown cut flower market, this is actual flowers you can buy. You gotta cross the bridges a few times to get to all the shops.

The Thai aren’t the laid back vacation people that ads of sun drenched beaches and guesthouses perhaps suggest. They’re actually pretty damn formal. While dinners outside my apartment complex go on for hours (including after hours drinking of whiskey misked with soda water) and folks lounge around in shorts tons of minute customs that would be excusable becuase you’re foreign in Korea or Japan must be observed. Buddhist charms can not be worn below the waist, a teacher at school warned me never to point at things with my feet, Buddhist robes are for sale everywhere, but can’t be woren, while people worry about offending other south east asians the reality of Taipei, Seoul, or Tokyo is that they’re pretty much used to Westeners (and usually rather international themselves), while in Bangkok people still whisper about the farang in the building and some offenses aren’t as excusable. It is still a culture that’s customs aren’t as well known as others, but unfortunately as a tourist hotspot, are frequently trampled upon.

April 26, 2007 at 11:05 am Leave a comment


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