Monday, January 09, 2006

New Year and Shopping in Bangkok

Picking our way through the pitch-blackness of Seletar camp through the pouring rain to Sunset Grill & Pub, there was Jerry squigging the tables under the great angsana. Then there was first soup and garlic bread for the cold, then nachos and cheese dip and salsa and cola and hot heavenly buffalo wings and carrot sticks and ribs and thick fries until closing time, after which there was huddling under brollies and skipping over puddles, when it was decided that the new year in Bangkok should be chronicled for future reference.

Right then:
New Year in Bangkok
During which there were bunches of other ARPC people faffing about town, enormous amounts of eating off pavement hawkers: chicken deep-fried with salt and pepper in great woks of oil (probably heirloom; as in: reused for generations), locusts and other unidentifiable crunchy insects, steaming bowls of noodles, fat sausages on sticks (constituent meat indeterminate), plates of pad thai under frangipani trees; stretchy massages by slim giggly girls; prodigeous amounts of fruit juice, sweet coconuts, iced milk coffees and teas, Singha and Kloster; a never-ending flow of ices for the heat; crazy tuk-tuk rides flying against traffic; the pharmacist in our midst first giving us her germs then attempting to dispense drugs like so many after-dinner mints; long discussions between the pharmacist and the doctors about oncological drug-patient responses; people getting hit on by the biologically same-sexed; the doctors regaling us with patient histories that were good contenders for the Darwin Awards; the engineer explaining the gear system for hand-powered tricycles; and a good yabber on evangelism and the effective use of the Alpha course outside go-go bars in Patpong.

Pity we missed the flightless parties (pix look great though and I hear Chris Chia's New Year sermon on the Lord's Prayer was marvellous too!). Oh well:

New Year countdown: partying on the streets, beer garden season around Central World Plaza awash with tipples from Heineken, Singha, Asahi and Beer Chang, live bands, fireworks.

The MRTA: round-the-clock service and anywhere in Bangkok for 10B.

Music for aural taste-testing:

they can be borrowed.

Bummer about missing Bangkok 100. And Sembawang Fest doesn't even look half as promising. However CS may borrow Modern Dog if CS wants.

(Further down in Kuala Lumpur, folks at a New Year's Eve punk rock concert at Paul's Place were detained by Malaysian police apparently for indecent behaviour, "Black Mental" (sic), Satanism and the presence of a kambing, dealing a blow to live indie music in that city (no matter how bad).)

Picture from

Platinum Fashion Mall
: newly opened, lian as the name suggests, independent boutiques proffering rags of clashing colours, retro stripes, curtain castoffs, sequins, feather trimmings, fur trimmings, bizarre embroidery, bohemian gypsy styles, grungy tie-dye, hill-tribe weaves, goth edgings, sometimes all on the same piece.

Central World Plaza: name changed from World Trade Centre after acquisition by Central, anchored by Isetan and Zen, many middle-aged Singaporeans buying cheaper underwear and carrying their backpacks on their chests, a multiplex, furniture, wood and lacquer. In Beer Garden Season, beer gardens up front.

Big C Supercentre: megacineplex, hypermall with requisite dull factory outlets and foot massage touts.

Gaysorn: not what it suggests in English, white on white interior, usual designer brands (real licensed LV, Gucci, Ferragamo and posh friends), amazingly old mate Thomas Pink, local designers (Fly Now by Chamnan Phakdeesuk who opened London Fashion Week twice, Tango, Kloset which was showcased at Milan's White Fair, Senada Theory, Sretsis, Cloud 9, Fashion Society - a clearing house of pay and work clothes mixing leading Thai and up-and-comers). Thai fashion was happenin'. Bangkok Fashion Week was happenin'. The yummy Greyhound café showed that edible fusion was still happenin' served by wait staff with T-shirt quips in bold pink:"I may not look cute but I can recommend dishes", " Live dangerously, try our special of the month" and "Life is short. Dessert anyone?"

Amarin Plaza: slated to be a design hub, currently smells of old wet cigarettes and dried urine on linoleum flooring, full of 24-hour tailors.

Erawan Plaza: home to mid-class international brands, Singapore representatives like Club 21, Bakerzin and Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao, Tour de France by prodigal son Veerapremon, Bangkok's most photographed shrine and a glam tea room over looking it where you can have scones and tea while watching worshippers do their thing.

Siam Paragon: very newly opened megamall attempting to cater to diverse societal strata, complete with huge aquarium, cavernous food court, gourmet supermarket, opera house, cineplex, IMAX cinema, 50-lane bowling alley, Thailand's largest bookstore, doggie clothes and accessories, Lamborghini and Ferrari showrooms, make-up and skincare brands Paul & Joe, Philosophy and made-for-Asian RMK (stop hyperventilating. Remember its just for information.), and a section for quirky local product designers called be-trend: gugu, Human Touch, Propaganda, take a luxe, we, why..?, gumption, swinger, zenithpaper, mola...

Over at Siam Discovery Centre, interior designs with Gilles Caffier for the luxey and Elle Decoration-y, anyroom for ceramics, Panta for experimental furniture made from natural materials, Habitat (yes the UK one!), LOFT for one-stop gift-shopping for kawai-ophiles, roominteriorproducts for kitschy inflatable plastic stuff, E.G.G. for nippy accessories.
Siam Square: rows of streets of young designer start-ups, recently graduated hairdressers, used books stacks and indie music shops helmed by bandmembers and aunties alike; own radio station and magazine; luscious mango desserts at Mango Tango on Soi 4; God's Absent goth, girly himma, Hybrid Outfitters and It's Happened to be a Closet faux-vintage on Soi 3, Dressed to Kill 50s-inspired dresses, Cafe Inn and she@mood on Soi 2, Vanilla Industry with its cutesy bakery store selling sugar bits, café and baking school on Soi 11 and UFM Baking and Cooking School on Soi 1.

Mahboonkrong (MBK): boisterous, overcrowded, colossal, stacked, more than 1000 shops and stall flog gold, footwear, PJs, electronics, cameras, lukchup, dining chairs, donuts... Famously, a massive jeans bazaar on the ground floor and fake watches and bootleg skincare from Philosophy, Bath and Body Works and Garnier, and foreign films and TV miniseries watchables on the third floor.

Elsewhere along Sukhumvit, Soi 55 (Thonglor) spots outbreaks of stylistic loveliness with J Avenue for Japanese expats, H1 - glassboxes for design, lifestyle and dining, and Playground! attempting some hip amalgamation of fashion, home decor, music and food with the outrageously nice Belle & Bunty, the fresh Lara Bohinc, sleek Bomus, the useful Perigot and the..oi! Jonathan Seow's Woods & Woods.

Then, of course, there was always Chatuchak...

...and many good massages (did we say that already?), many meals of good cheap food, good company and the futuristic Bed Supperclub with reservations online. Best.

'nof said. ;-)

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At October 04, 2008 6:54 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you have the shop: "GYPSY 05" in any mall in bangkok?


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