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Bangkok, Thailand; Dec 3, 2004

jatujak market

Today, Samson took us to Jatujak Market (sometimes spelled "Chatuchak"). Unfortunately, we didn’t have as much time there as we would have liked (we had to rush and catch a plane to Vietnam afterwards), but it was long enough to figure out that if you can buy it in Thailand, you can probably buy it at Jatujak.

one of the many main thoroughfares through the market

We took the train to Mo Chit station (but since the market is so big, there are numerous stations that work). As soon as we got off the train, we could feel the crowds. There were tons of people there (Jatujak is only open on weekends). After we pushed through the throngs for several minutes, we finally made it to the edge of the market. We knew it was big, but we weren't prepared for *how* big. There are aisles and aisles of all sorts of stuff, from kitchen wares to pocket knives, from wooden Buddhas to metal elephants, from real fruit to funny to *really* funny (we're not sure if these were purchased by weight or by quantity). It’s crowded, it’s cheap, it’s loud, and it’s mostly low-tech. We couldn’t figure out how all the vendors at Jatujak could possibly stay in business. They had so much stuff and there were so many of them, but there they all were, nonetheless. Somehow, in one fell swoop, it manages to balance out the thousands of air-conditioned malls that seem to be absolutely everywhere else in Bangkok.

one of many shops selling... um... gilded housewares?

There was way too much to explore in our allotted time. We found some great placemats and chopsticks that we really liked, and Samson volunteered to cart them back to the States for us since it would be easier for him than for us (we aren’t going back anytime soon). We gratefully accepted his offer, bargained the goods down to a reasonable price (for Thailand, that is; it would be considered incredibly cheap by US standards), and started our journey back to Samson’s apartment to pick up our luggage and head to the airport. If the chance ever presents itself, we’re coming back here with an empty suitcase.

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