17th December 2004
Let's go shopping.
Now I hate to be called a typical man but in this
respect I am for sure. However when it comes to shopping.
This was the day to go to Bangkok’s Bo Bae wholesale
clothes market. I had about $700.00USD in my pocket $500.00 of that was to
buy clothes for the children at Fr, Ray’s orphanage here in Pattaya. I, Tony
and his girlfriend Tukta had travelled from Pattaya to Bangkok the evening
before. Noi could not come because she had to see to Mr, Black as it was a
school day. We stayed in a small, cheap hotel that night not far from the
Baiyoke Tower hotel. The room was clean but rather resembled a ship’s birth.
That evening Tony and I enjoyed a Burger King something or other not great
but it filled a hole, while Tukta went off herself for something Thai. Then
straight to bed because the next day was to begin at 4 a.m., straight out of
bed and off to the wholesale market. Tony had been before but for me this
was all new.
||This photo was taken from the window of my truck
while leaving the market at around 7am,.
As I was driving down
the very narrow alley I was simply just pointing and clicking so had I
run over her toe's?
Around 4 a.m., Tony was outside my door with a
steaming cup of strong coffee but could get no answer so he had to return to
his room and ring me, this he did and that duly got my attention. While
reaching for the phone just about everything ended up on the floor, the
phone cradle, remote for the TV, my glasses - well you have the picture.
Anyway coffee, quick shower and we were off to the market. The roads where
quite empty, well empty for Bangkok anyway. Taking us only about 15 minutes
to get there but having done that we had to find somewhere to park. That was
entirely a different matter, we eventually ended up in the Bo Bae hotel car
park. Parking was one thing, finding where you had eventually parked was
quite another. The place is a warren, a warren inside and yet a further
warren outside. Corridors that all look the same with streets that all look
||As you can see this is a very busy place early in the
morning in fact this is not even the main part of the market, that is
over the road running along side the cannel. By this time of day the
main part was closed to return about 1am the next morning.
Anyway a walk to the market to buy clothes lost of
them for the kids, clothes mostly sold by the dozen of a type. The boys in
the orphanage outnumber the girls about two to one. The age range form zero
to eighteen. So where to start? It was now about 5:30 a.m. and it wouldn’t
be long before the market would begin to close for the day. Knickers and
underpants were high on the list and we found them straight- away. Six dozen
of them please. Tukta mentioned that we were buying for the orphanage and
the very kind market vendors all in fact but one added further items over
and above what we paid for. The one in question was a woman in her sixties I
guess with a bag of money that would have choked a hippo. Never mind, as the
Thai people would say, everyone else was very generous indeed with their
added items. Football kits, beautiful suit sets for girls, tops, bottoms, 2
dozen of this 5 dozen of that. Within 1 ½ hours all the cash was gone, that
is to say all the seven hundred USD, not just the five hundred I was
intending to spend.
||I did not have my camera with me while shopping so I
just clicked away while leaving. My camera is rather large and heavy but
I would have really loved to let you see a photo of the very generous
vendors that donated the extra items of clothes.
What a great time? I have never enjoyed shopping so
much in my life well not for clothes anyway. Now I have to wait until
tomorrow because Flying Officer Booner for Thai Airways has more gift
contributions from that direction. Then even perhaps more from one of the
expats clubs on Sunday. Next week some time we will have a day when we go to
the orphanage to donate what we have gathered. So far it’s filling a large
pick up truck.
||If you look closely you can see my giant camera in
the truck mirror. It's something of a small miracle that I got any shots
that where worth showing you.
Having left Bo Bae it was off to Chinatown for same
crazy Christmas hats. Getting into Chinatown was little problem; getting
back out was indeed something else, I was lost in Bangkok and while in this
state I was pulled over by a policeman for going up a bus only lane.
License, yes OK, here you are producing two, one for a motor bike and one
for a car but since both are written in Thai I have no idea which is which.
It’s a ten Dollar fine he said, meaning it’s a starting point to negotiate a
bribe. Ten dollars is nothing while already lost, then to find his police
station, that is after he has knocked off for the day which is the real
punishment. Producing Fr, G’s card I explained that we were on a buying trip
for the children from the orphanage and he proceeded to forfeit the bribe
and then give us directions. What a nice policeman. We called into see my
friend Philip on the way home then it was back to Pattaya and a large, well
deserved English Breakfast at Yorkie’s
Just about dawn on the 21st of
December 2004 outside my bungalow.
As you can see Mr., Black is looking
a little cold here but in fact the temperature is about 23 degrees
The culmination of all this was the delivery to Bro,
Denis at the orphanage which took place on the 21st of December. Tony was
coming with me so I picked him up on the way. While I was waiting for him
there was yet a further call from Gary one of the people from the expats
club with even more presents for the children. We picked them up on the way
to the orphanage which made us about 10 minutes late but Bro, Denis didn't
seam to mind.
||I may well extend this story after I visit the
orphanage on Christmas morning.