Transitioning From Web Developer to Comic Book Author:

Last day, Shopping

Well, here it is, 40 hours of travel ahead of us (with a 12 hour layover in Korea) and our last day to shop and hang in Thailand.

We discovered something very interesting yesterday. We decided not to go back to the backpacker area of Banglampoo and instead stay near the Skytrain so we could wake up early and go to Jatujak weekend market this morning. That was the plan.
Shortly after checking in in the Siam Center area, we walked around to refamiliarize ourselves with the area. Having the rest of the day ahead of us, we were in no hurry and we stopped to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the Scala Theater (Bangkok’s most classic theater–more beautiful and comfortable than any theater I’ve been to in the USA). The movie was nice because we spent many nights on Koh Samui island at a place called Will Wait Restaurant, watching pirated movies with our dinner. Most were ridiculously low quality theater recordings but it was funny to watch the bad subtitles that must have been generated by speech-to-text software in the TV. It was also nice because for the best seats in the house, it was about $3.50 US to see the movie. Aside from the 3 ushers with flashlights who kept guiding latecomers to their seats and shining random spots of distracting brightness all over the place, I’d say it was an excellent movie going experience.

Oh, but before the movie started, we went to Pantip Plaza, which was a little hard to find on foot but we asked directions from many street vendors (and at a 7-11 where we purchased some awesome movie snacks–yummy candied tamarind).
Pantip Plaza is the Tech Mall (I have pictures I will upload later). What you find when entering Pantip is that it’s 5-6 floors of pirated software, movies, music and games, electronic goods both new and refurbished and just about any other geeky thing you can imagine. Imagine a pirate mega-mall. It was cool. I was a little disappointed upon further investigation that the new items were the same price you would expect to pay in the USA (after doing the conversion)–some were even more expensive. When it comes to high-end technology, the equivalent value formula for cash consciousness goes crazy.

Anyway, after the movie, we decided to check out MBK, the shopping mall that we didn’t make it to last time we were in this area. We gave up early last time because Siam Center is a very expensive yuppy area. However, we were delighted to find that inside MBK, on the Skytrain entrance level (the 3rd floor, I think), was a huge area just like Jatujak market, in which the hawkers bargained just as low and sometimes lower than we experienced anywhere else including JJ Market. We were blown away. Last time we went to JJ weekend market, we almost died because it’s all outside in non-air-con huts and there are so many people, you almost get trampled trying to find your way around the maze. And here in Yuppyville MBK was the same set of cheap items at the same prices. So, of course, we went crazy and blew a couple thousand baht. Then we decided to ditch JJ market in the morning and simply go back to MBK. This decision was amplified after we realized that we had spent over 2 hours just in the 3rd floor market and that MBK is actually a MEGA-mega-mall holding at least 6 floors, each about 1 kilometer long. We had dinner at the food court–complete with 2 beers–for 170 Baht together (or about $5 US). Shockingly the mall food was as good as any other food we’ve found around the area.

Today, we went back to MBK and found that the market stalls weren’t open at the same time as the rest of the mall. Were they setup, the booths were closed off with garage door covers that were themselves covered in graffiti. I took as many pictures as I could and cursed not arriving before the dozen or so who had already opened, thereby concealing the amazing art on their closed doors. Oddly, the Siam Center area as classy and yuppy as it is is also the spot in Thailand with the most graffiti. I found another car park that was covered 360 degrees on the inside. I’ll have to go back there today.

Well, we are off again to explore the rest of MBK. I need to get a couple more awesome shirts and whatnots. There is also a music store, which had guitars for between 1K-4K Baht or about $30-120US. I’m tempted, even though Lena claims my accordion, harmonica, drums, and electric guitar don’t get played enough. But I’m thinking I should sell my electric guitar and get an accoustic :)

I know this is a little disjointed but I’ll be writing much much more when we get back and I can upload all the photos. We’ve seen so much and there is just too much to write about. I’ll need about 12 hours of solid computer time…maybe more.