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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 Bangkokís 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, Rayís 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 shipís 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 the same.

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 wouldnít 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 Ĺ 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 itís 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. Itís a ten Dollar fine he said, meaning itís 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, Gís 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 Yorkieís

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 centigrade.

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.
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