Monday, November 21, 2011

Exploring Chinatown, Little India, Grand Palace, and Markets

Exploring the Chinatown in Hong Kong was cool, but in Bangkok- this China town amazed me.  Everything you could ever imagine all in one place. Each little alley lead to a hidden treasure.  The street vendors were covering each and every corner with colorful, fresh fruits, meats, and Chinese/Thai specialities-dumpling stall, fresh squeezed pomegranate juice, crepes etc.  I was walking around for hours and it felt like I could have explored it for days.  I smiled and waived at many people as they looked so happy to see me. Of course, there are those that are not as friendly, but few and far in between. 

Sampeng Lane

This narrow lane, also known as Soi Wanit 1, stretches for about half a mile (1 km) through the very heart of Chinatown and Cars cannot even squeeze their way down here, but motorbikes and porters carrying stacks of goods weave through the slow-moving sea of humanity. It is one of the oldest streets in Bangkok. People pause every few steps to examine the goods on offer. These include computer games, fashion accessories, toys, ceramics, fabrics, and readymade garments.

The streets are curving into different markets and all sorts of jewelry, fabric, and hand made products. I stopped for fresh mango and sticky rice and headed to a nearby temple.  There were not many things I wanted to purchase as I was focused on the people, what they were doing , their interactions, their smiles, the food making, and the houses. 

Walking through China town specifically, I thought about what Molly said, “Southeast asia is a preparation for India.” That statement really hit me as I felt culture shock walking through some of the poorer areas and seeing into their homes and daily lives.  The way they live is simple, but happy.  And there is nothing wrong with that-it is beautiful to me and admirable.  The simply happy My new term

Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchaworamahawiharn.

One of my favorite temples-I sat outside and had some nice self-reflection and enjoyed the Indian visitors

The Little India Of Bangkok at Phahurat Road
Beautiful fabrics, scarfs, samosas, and dresses with cute little Indian kids selling like adults. A preparation for the real India...
I wanted to buy this, but I figure I will be buying and wearing plenty in INDIA
The Grand palace is huge and bit touristy for me, but it is a major attraction so I stopped by.  A man in the nearby park gave me corn to feed the pigeons.  I politefully inclined, but he insisted so I took the corn and fed the pigeons( I do not even like pigeons).  Shortly, after that he asked me for $500 baht.  I gave him 10 and he was pointing at the bank and saying, “More money, more money.”  I am going to assume these types of experiences will happen frequently in specific parts of India.  I am prepared, but my heart breaks as I can usually only give my time and love-not money.                                     

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