Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bangkok 1 Chatuchak Market (6/23/2012)

Saturday, June 23, 2012
Departed from hot and sticky, and this morning smoggy, Shanghai, to arrive in hot and sticky, but sunny Bangkok, Thailand.
Since we declined an early lunch on board the plane, we ate at the Magic Food Court at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport:
We took the new Airport Rail Link from the airport to central Bangkok in 15 minutes, covering nearly 18 miles:
If every Asian city can have rapid transit connecting the city and the airport, why can't we have it in the U.S.? Oh, yeah, we have a "democracy" which must mean the people don't want it!
We will have to get used to seeing the Thai alphabet:
Fortunately most things are written in English as well.
A view of the airport on the horizon:
We had a short walk from the Airport Rail Link station to our hotel, the Asoke Residence Sukhumvit:
Located down an alley, it was surprisingly pleasant:
It had its own spirit house:
And a swimming pool:
After checking in, we had a couple hours to fill. Walked back over the canal, which has a commuter boat system:
Took the underground MRT train to the Chatuchak Weekend Market:
Thirty-five acres with more than 15,000 stalls. I can't believe it is open only on weekends.
Mixing milk into the tea:
Cobra belts:
Stalls are under cover and under umbrellas:
Beer candles:
Colorful silks:
Vines growing over the rooftops:
Food vendors scattered everywhere:
Gold-trimmed tea cups and saucers:
Elephants are revered in Thailand and have become a symbol of the country. White elephants are the symbol of Thai Royalty.
Pet snacks:
Princess kitties:
Zebra doves:
We finally found the clock tower, which means we finally found the center of the market:
Belts, anyone?
Popsicle vendors:
They are frozen in metal tubes packed in ice:
Bird nests:
Iced drinks for 10 baht/33 cents:
The flavors are coconut, chrysanthemum, lemon, hairy basil, and longan. Thank goodness the Thais have no problem with ice in their drinks! Kent tried the hairy basil which contained hairy basil seeds. Supposed to be good for losing weight!
Nice cotton stuff:
Uh, oh! Beware of pickpockets:
Outside the market and along the park fence, several food vendors were set up. Apparently they bring you a bowl of noodles, and you can add whatever you want from what is on the table:
Ready to grill meat balls and sausages:
We took a shortcut through Chatuchak Park.
Save the Tiger campaign:
This is where all the "unsafe" playground equipment in the U.S. ended up:
We took the Metro one stop and walked to look for the Elephant Building, as it began to rain.
Kent in front of elephant statues with an eagle:
Running into the end/beginning of the elevated train line should have been the clue we were going the wrong way!
It looks like the line was built for the King's birthday!
Weren't we surprised to find ourselves back at Chatuchak Park! A friendly young woman tried to help us, but we knew what our mistake was. We again took the Metro for one stop, and headed in the opposite direction. On an overpass, we could see the so-called Elephant Building:
With a massive trunk, golden tusks, eyes and ears, here is the elephant:
Many businesses and individuals have shrines and spirit houses to seek divine assistance for good luck, health, wealth, and love. Offerings are made both during the request and also as thanks:
Taking the Metro again (we had purchased stored value cards), we returned to the Sukhumvit area. We went to the famous Cabbages & Condoms restaurant:
It is part of the outreach program of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), a sex education and AIDS prevention organization. They had a beautiful courtyard, but it was raining:
An excellent and huge restaurant, Kent was impressed by the beer list. Here he tries a Federbrau from Germany:
We had a glass noodle salad with shrimp:
Stir-fried chicken with chillis and and basil:
And green curry with little round eggplants:
It was spicy!
Tamiko admires a dress made with condoms:
Santa, a bride and a kid decked out in condoms and pill packets:
Even the ceiling lamps were made with condoms:
There was a large shop with condom-related items:
Condoms themselves are free, and we missed getting our free condoms in lieu of after-dinner mints because we left before the waiter brought the change.
As we walked back to the hotel, we took a detour down Soi Cowboy/Cowboy Alley:
This is the raunchy go-go bar area:
We were too stuffed to try any fried seafood or insect snacks:
Good night!

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