Shopping in Bangkok, Thailand

Shopping in Bangkok, Thailand
It’s a fun city-- Bangkok in Thailand, but over the years shopping is expensive. Things used to be a couple of baht but not any more. The city crawls with foreigners and so along with the tourists have the prices climbed.

But that’s fine. I was changing dollars and so twenty dollars would give me six hundred odd baht which was plenty to get my dinner for the 5 days we were there. I would walk down to the smoking cart on the road that sold grilled chicken and a really large sausage. The sausage was delicious with their Thai spices and definitely some lemon grass flavour.

Then I would walk down to my favourite fruit vendor and point to a large hunk of pineappe and he would hack it up, put it in a plastic bag with a small packet of salt and a lovely wooden pick to eat it with. The pineapple was ice cold as it was saved on a bed of ice in his glass covered cart.

Then, humming along I would return to my room, switch on the BBC news and while watching Imran Khan get elected as prime minister of Pakistan or the island of Mati in Greece get burned to a crisp in wild forest fires, scoff my sausage on a stick slowly, savouring every bits and then the pineapple which sometimes was too large to eat at one go. Both cost 20 baht each which is nothing considering how large both were for me.

Then if the mood hit me after the training session I would go with my colleagues, especially he girl from TOI -- Vinamrata, Binani from Bangladesh and Sumith from Sri Lanka. We would wander down to the sky train and take a train to the MBK shopping mall. The ticket cost 30 Baht and we were packed like sardines in the metro like train. Inspite of the heat the Thais dont smell of any sort of body fluid like us Indians. And there is no wandering hand trying to grope you. Infact the girls are so skimpily dressed, even I had my eyebrows raised. But they are free and safe at any time of day or night.

In MBK, we would go sauntering around the little shops. There was nothing really that caught my eye but by the end of the evening I bought one kg of delightful Thai sweet tamarind for 150 baht and a dress for Natalie for 300 baht. The younger ones bought everything they saw to my amusement.

Then we decided to take a tuk tuk. Those tuk tuk drivers are terrors. They drive like they are standing on their accelerators and through the small gullies of Bangkok onto the huge main roads without a care for safety. Just hold on for dear life and close your eyes to the wild careening ride home.

That was two types of transport and I was fair game to try them all. No staid taxis for the young ones. They save their money to drink beer and more beer in the evenings with their Pad Thai soup! The sight of friend crickets and worms and everything that moves puts me off going out with them.

The taxi drivers are rougues.They cheat all tourists and mine from the airport charged me way above the limit but that was fine cause it was a clean cab and he brought me straight to the hotel. Insist on the meter and or bargain down his price to 400 baht right from the time you give him your slip with the number from the machine in the airport.

You must go to ‘Pratinum ‘ said the Malaysian Sheila who thought I looked like a shopper. Ever ready to shop Binani, Sumith and I decided to go look for Pratinum. We took the sky train and got off at Chit Lom. Ofcourse we walked 500 metres the wrong way before we turned and went back and finally after a walk we found the mall. Ha ha ha, it was PLATINUM Mall and just a minor pronounciation made it Pratinum. That was hilarious and {ratinum it stayed for us. I changed all my one dollar notes and decided to buy things for the grandkids.

An hour of the aimless wandering and I was quite done with shopping. But not the others and I had to hang on cause the huge crowds scared me. “ Lets take the water taxi as a change” said Sumith the inveterate adventurer and I was glad I was with him because that was another great experience we tried.

One had to climb down into a large boat with wooden benches and a rocking boat mind you on the water! Then the boat takes off through filthy waters which strangely do not smell. Dont let a drop fall into your mouth, keep it tightly closed! I had splashed on my face and hands, but one can wash that off.

By the end of the five days we were all bowing low in thank you to all we met and interacted with, in typical Thai style. Such a gentle and courteous race, we need some lessons in India.

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