Category: SE Asia

Floating Market

by brokenrecordbaby

Since we never made it to the Floating Market the day we met @t, he took us there on the third day we hung out. (The second day we chilled at his house, went to a huge shopping mall and watched a Thai horror movie which was amazing. Randolph screamed twice. But not like a girl. Like a real man.)

The Floating Market is a 15 minute cab ride away from Bangkok’s center. The market, as the name floating sorta suggests, is by the water. And this water is fish ridden. I’ve never seen this many fish. The water is black due to the sheer density of fish. I think it’s good luck to feed them or something so you can buy bread and them mutherfuckers be going crazy.

Anyway, so the Floating Market is a floating deck on a river with little boats boppin’ along side the deck where amazing Thai food is being prepared right before your eyes. You choose what you want, grab a seat on the deck and hopefully don’t get sea sick due to the constant rocking of the deck.

Then we took a boat tour (we were the only non-Thais on the trip something very unusual in Bangkok) which takes you through a village of houses built on stilts along the river. It was the best experience so far.

These houses had postboxes and there were “street signs” in the river. A little supermarket on the river. Temples. Everything. We passed by a dead belly-up alligator, tons of bright pink marshmellow-like slugs, red slug like things with hundreds of legs, stray dogs playing in the water, kids swimming and balancing on water pipe lines, temples, old ladies floating around in boats with more strength than any middle-aged dude, schools of fish waiting to be fed, run-down shacks with bedsheets as windows, decadent little palaces with golden-trimmed gates. A whole town in the river.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Where’s @t at?

by brokenrecordbaby

Our attempt to walk from Khaosan Road road westwards to the floating markets got interrupted as we followed my urge to walk down a random one way street off a busy main road. There was nothing really special looking about the road and crossing a four lane road isn’t the best idea but we did it anyway. Thick black telephone wires obscured the view of bright pink and blue painted apartments, like everywhere else also here two or three street vendors set up shop and some neighbours congregated outside their homes to chat and eat.

T-shirts hanging in the window of a ground floor apartment caught my eye and though the sparseness of the space made me a bit unsure if it actually was a shop the open door made me feel it was all right to go in. Sure enough a Thai guy walked down the stairs as soon as we got in and showed us his t-shirts, which it turns out, he designs and prints himself with some friends as a collective called Hangover. Randolph chose a cityscape t-shirt with a big tree sprucing out of surrounding skyscrapers. The guy didn’t have the right amount of change to give us back so he headed off for a minute and came back with the right change and a bottle of Coke and Fanta for Randolph and I. The three of us sat outside on little wooden benches and @t, as he likes to be written, started talking about his collective.

Soon his friend popped on over and @t asked if we wanted to try some Thai deserts. Not even waiting for an answer his friend sped off on @t’s brakeless bike and came back just a couple of minutes later with food I had never seen before. Green short noodle-like things in coconut milk cooled by a huge chunk of crush iced, a cream coloured mushy, sweet and grainy soil grown vegetable in salty coconut milk and purple jelly squares floating in sugar water. The textures and tastes were almost overwhelming. The green noodles were glibbery, wet and slimy, the sweet vegetable in salty coconut milk made a crass contrast and jelly, though not that unheard of, was extra slippery in its pool of sugary water.

After we established that @t and I are both avid magazine readers he gave me a stack of Thai magazines to flip through while we picked at the deserts and drank the coffee. The sincere hospitality was mind blowing especially for Randolph, who in his week long Bangkok adventure had only encountered TukTuk drivers and Thais who seem helpful enough giving directions but then end up just being after your money.

A random stroll down a one way street changed our whole day plans. We stayed at @t’s home all day. He took us to a pawn shop after I told him I was interested in getting a camera. He took us to a magazine and packaging printing factory just a couple of houses down from his. He bought us dinner from yet another street vendor which we ate with his two friends. A spicy red pork curry, fried boiled eggs, a pork ball soup, a seafood soup, rice, fried pork, chicken and fish.

The sincere friendliness, view into his life and culture was numbing. And what made the situation even more surreal is that @t felt just as fortunate to have met us. As I told him I’d write about his designs for Flamingo Magazine and we promised to help him with his t-shirts once he expands the business he repeatedly described our visit to his shop as god sent. Bless him!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.