Monday, December 03, 2007

Trip to Chinatown

After I got the children up this morning I wrote an article. I’d been preparing it in my head for some days. I was doing the research and my subconscious, bless it, sorted most of it out in my head while I got on with other things.

Then, I went to Sampeng Lane, Chinatown. I LOVE Sampeng Lane even though it’s migraine inducing. On the way, walking through Chinatown, are the weirdest shops: shops full of engines, shops full of metal rods; shops full of basketware; shops full of string and rope.

Sampeng Lane is a narrow ‘walking street’. No-one appears to have told the locals who insist on riding motorbikes down it and pulling carts full of bales of material and the like.

There are certain rulesI have invented to cope with Chinatown:

1. Really, really want what you’re going for.
2. If possible, go on your own. If you must go with other people, try NOT to care what you buy.
3. Start at one end. DO NOT start in the middle – which way will you go?
4. Start at the end you can walk to from Hua Lampong otherwise a taxi driver will think you’ve just got off the train from the beach and are stupid. Then he will drive you on a tour of Bangkok before taking you to Chinatown.
5. When I see a shop I want to go into I have to remember if I turn left or right going into it, otherwise I won’t remember which way to turn coming out of the shop. Sampeng Lane is designed so that shoppers are perpetually confused so they stay there all day because they can’t find a way out.
6. Buy a drink every time you see a vendor: juice, water and coke. 7. Buy dim sum in Sampeng – it tastes better there than anywhere else in the world.

I had to buy stuff for a grotto and lots of decorations for Husband’s work Christmas party which we are hosting on Friday.


Mel said...

Beautiful pics jj! I've only been in china town for about half an hour (3 times!) because it's so overwhelming I just can't hang around!

Lane said...

Fantastic photos jj. I love the blue wheels in the engine bits one and the coloured brooms amongst all the straw.
Everything is so colourful!

lol at checking direction before going into a shop!

Carol and Chris said...

I'm so sorry for pikeing on you today - how did the grotto shopping go?

C x

JJ said...

Hi Mel, thanks. It is so overwhelming, but I do love it. I can understand why people hate it though. Are you more of a Chatuchak girl?

Lane, thank you. They are colourful and so barking mad. I love the looks on their faces when they see me taking pictures!

Carol, Don't worry. Like I said it's easier to do alone really - though you're no trouble!!! I got red velvety stuff 5 yards for 80 baht a yard and 2 yards of white 'snow' for 150 baht (I think). Hope Chris is better.


Pacha said...

I can imagine getting lost there. I got lost just looking at your photos - layers and layers of colour and textures.

And well done on a productive day! That is fantastic!

Leigh said...

Ooh, ooh. These photos are almost as good as the pencils in Singapore. I liked the silks too, btw.

DOT said...

It's a shame you can't capture smells (that should be stinks, of course, as highlight by Dr. Johnson when he climbed into a coach with a female companion who complained that he smelt. 'No, madam,' replied the Doctor, 'you smell, I stink.').

I was brought up in Malay, as was, and still recall being overwhelmed by the impact of the market on my cute little button nose, as was.

In fact, I believe children have a much stronger olfactory sense than adults and that it is the most powerful trigger of memories.

JJ said...

Thanks Leigh, I love pattern, repitition, chaos, colour. Thailand is amazing for all of that.

DOT, Yes, smells all over Thailand are interesting... I've got used to them now. The bad ones I just shrug and remember London (!) and the good ones (cos there are lots of those with so much cooking on the streets) I just respond with a big sniff, and a 'mmm, yum'.