Chatuchak Weekend Market

If it’s not the heat that’ll kill you, it’s the heat: this is the theme of our time in Bangkok so far. We left snowy Halifax last Monday in the middle of a blizzard, with a wind chill of -30 C. Yesterday it was 34 C here. That’s a 5-day jump of 60 degrees in our surroundings.

Mostly what this means is that we have to learn to pace ourselves, take frequent breaks, douse wee Oliver with water, and head out early in the morning. No crazy New York-style travelling here: walk slowly, stay in the shade, don’t breath in too much of the street-level pollution.

Both Catherine and I have had a couple of “melt down” instances since we arrived, thankfully not at the same time. Sometimes the heat and the humidity and the crazy urbanity of it all just gets to you. I think we’re both getting better at spotting the signs and warding off the worst, though. That’s a Good Thing.

Yesterday we managed to get out and buy Oliver a sun hat and a pair of sandals, went to the Government-sponsored crafts marketplace, and eat lunch. Otherwise we slept, ate, drank, repeat. Last night Michelle, Steve’s wife, kindly babysat Oliver while Catherine and I headed out to dinner. Unfortunately we broke the cardinal “before you head out into the crazy humid heat of the night, have some idea where you’re going” rule, and in desparation ended up eating at a western-style barbeque place called “Sizzler” where we had mediocre burgers. Oliver slept throughout his visit with Steve and Michelle, although I did catch him watching CNN while reclining on the couch while we debriefed our hosts after dinner.

This morning we headed off very early to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is quite simply the largest, most crowded marketplace either of us have ever seen. To imagine it, in some small way, take the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market, raise the temperatire 30 degrees, make it 100 times bigger (really), and include everything from fighting hens to goldfish to bolts of silk to orchids. Surprisingly, we found the market easy to navigate — although we only saw maybe 1/16 of it — and Catherine honed her haggling skills and got 12 meteres of Thai silk for about $10.

This afternoon we’re off with Steve and Michelle to their Sunday church meeting, then to the closed-off Silom Street which has been described to us as street party cum children’s festival.

Tomorrow we’re off to Chiang Mai in the north, and then later in the week south to the beach before returning to Bangkok next weekend in prepartion for our flight home.

Many more adventures to be had, I’m sure…