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Bangkok’s Chatuchak (aka JJ) Market: One of the Wonders of the World

July 2, 2009

ChatuchakMarket_DavidLONGSTREATH_AP460(picture via guardian.co.uk)

Try to imagine an outdoor market with 10,000 individual shops covering an area the size of 26 football fields, with about 100,000 shoppers thronging the place, surging through its narrow passages with vendors shouting “Good price! Good price!” They’re too smart to shout Thai at us….

You can buy puppies, kittens, rabbits, snakes and goldfish; flip-flops for the beach and Valentino heels for a ball; car batteries and watch batteries; oriental rugs and Hermes scarves; van Goghs and Picassos (repros of course); ladies and men’s fancy and everyday underwear; Buddhist amulets and hill-tribe crystals; garden plants and aquarium ferns; teak wood carvings and pottery statues and vessels beyond imagining – along with absolute throngs of people.

Most shops are ten feet by ten feet, and with few prices posted because offer and intense bargaining are de rigueur, the place is not for the faint-hearted, what for the congestion, arm-waving, cacophony, and 90 degree muggy heat. But fearless bargainers get astounding bargains.

But it’s worth it for bold bargainers, because the prices are beyond belief. The fancy fashions are overstocks from Thai factories that produce the purses, wallets, shoes, blouses and belts that are shipped overseas and sold in the top shops in London, Paris, Beverly Hills, New York, London, and Dubai for (as the vendors always say, “Top dollah, top dollah”). Even the labels are the same.

mecca cola copy

We were there recently with our dear friend John Foreyt, and in the muggy heat of the late afternoon were happy to find a street stand hawking refreshing “Mecca Cola.” Note the cola’s odd color, and the politically proper emblem!

– Dun

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 3, 2009 2:38 pm

    I’m guessing that’s the psychologist, John Foreyt, who wrote “Living Without Dieting,” published in 1994. Good book. Probably a very interesting guy.

    Looks like Thailand has more free-market capitalism than we have in the U.S.

    -Steve

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