Friday, August 11, 2006
i got my latte
it's friday, and my day off, so i took a bus into bangkok to do some shopping. the bus (read: eight passenger van) was packed with university students heading home for the weekend. those who had had classes this morning were still in their prim, short-sleeved white button-down shirt, neat black skirt and shoes uniformery, and the rest sported variations on the knee-length-shorts/t-shirt combination that is the thai woman's wardrobe. gung, our local shopping expert, directed me towards siam square, which includes the siam paragon, the siam center, and the siam discovery (all of these are shopping malls). i could not have been more delighted. everything was in english. i didn't have to ask people where everything was, because i could read the signs and figure it out myself, like a grown-up. the first thing i found on my own was a latte --------------------------->
it was everything i dreamed it would be, and more. this is me in the siam paragon (rocking my own knee-length-shorts/t-shirt combo), a spacious, air-conditioned dream of a mall, five stories high. the siam center was similar, and i can only assume the same of the siam discovery, because after i'd hit up these two, i headed to the mbk (which MUST stand for Mall of Bangkok, or something)...the mbk is easily as big as metrotown (both parts) as far as square footage per floor, but it's eight stories high, and the stores are all packed cheek by jowl. it's like our own little bang saen market, only a brazillion times bigger, and with air con. i almost screamed a little bit when i walked in. each storey is designated to a particular form of merchandise, so finding roughly what you want is easy. finding exactly what you want is near impossible, since the stores are four across (picture an ordinary shopping mall, and you're walking down the center floor bit, which usually has gaps surrounded by glass walls that children press their faces against and sometimes there are escalators, and on either side of you there is a store...now take away that center floor bit with its gaps and its escalators, and put in two more rows of stores...now add a million thai people and a handful of overwhelmed farang. that's mbk). it's the only time in my life i haven't combed a strange mall from top to bottom, end to end. i'm just grateful to have gotten out of there alive.
in addition to my latte, i had a double-cheese and jalepeno bagel with cream cheese (making it, i suppose, triple-cheese), and then later i stumbled upon the cream and fudge factory, which is not quite what it sounds. it's an ice-cream joint, where you walk up to the nice girl with the pad of paper and say, for example, that you would like chocolate ice cream with tiny chocolate chips, banana bits, and roasted macadamia nuts in it (which is, in fact, what i wanted) and then you will watch while they throw a largish scoop of ice cream on a frozen counter and mix in your chosen goodies. then they call you madam, as though you were the duchess of york, or something. do we have cream and fudge factories in north america? i know we have cold stone (in the states), which i think amounts to much the same thing...
and also, i saw a lady in a burkha.