I don’t like shopping.
Strange, I know, for a girl, but it’s true.
However, the morning of NYE, we woke up early to make our way to the Chatuchak market (pronounced “Jat-u-jak”, or “JJ” for short). The biggest market in Thailand, it’s rumored to have 15,000 individual vendors. Each colored section in the map below is supposed to feature vendors of a specific theme (textiles, antiques, clothing, etc.) – but as we walked the aisles it was evident that the sectioning was more a “loose suggestion” than strict zoning.
Now, this kind of shopping I like. In 5 hours, I did what it took most of you took all of December to do: I started and finished my Christmas shopping.
In Thailand, it is customary to haggle, and it is widely accepted. In America, haggling is sort of looked down upon, and is a tad bit shameful. However, Indians follow the same mindset as the as the Thais, so after years of careful observation of my mother, my grandmothers, and every other Indian woman I know, I quickly found my haggling groove.
Hunter and Brad, on the other hand, were far more likely to pay full price, and would often look to me when a price was stated, to see if I would think it was okay. I would promptly crinkle my nose, shake my head, suggest a lower number, and more often than not, the deal would be accepted. My mother would be proud.
*To be fair, Hunter and Brad eventually got into their own haggling groove as well, and we were well on our way to being a Baht-saving machine.
Amidst all of the stalls, we found a lovely little bar tucked away between the antiques and books, and it was quite a little respite for our tired feet.
After getting back from JJ, we moved our clothes and bags over to our second hotel in Bangkok, the Conrad. Brad posted the room walkthrough of the Executive Deluxe Suite earlier – the room was truly amazing.
For New Years Eve dinner, we went to a 16-course meal at Gaggan, a “modernist” restaurant with Indian influences from its Indian chef/owner. Several of the dishes were terrific, including the Lobster with cognac cream and mustard sauce, and the two courses with black and white truffle soup accompaniments. Unfortunately, there were also a few misses. As Brad said, “There is NO REASON anyone could think that Scotch (Johnny Walker) can be made into an ice cream”. Also, my mango mania “cocktail” did this:
By the time we finished dinner and got back to the hotel, it was about 10 till midnight.
We got back to the room, cracked open a couple of Leo Beers to share, and flipped on the TV to watch the countdown. Thailand’s Channel 3 carried the festivities from Pattaya, which is the biggest Thai countdown celebration. It was fairly similar to a lot of the American countdown television shows, with boy bands performing, etc., up until the countdown itself. Channel 3 played the countdown, then showed the AMAZING fireworks show there while Muzak-ing us into the new year. If you’re curious as to what this type of display looks like, you can link over here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGLOMH81dO4&feature=youtu.be
Outside our window, you could see a view all across the south of Bangkok. Fireworks were literally everywhere, with about 20 small and large displays all across the city. I’m a little girl when it comes to fireworks, so I was truly excited to see so many fireworks at one time from our 30th floor perch. Hope you all had Happy New Years!
*Post co-written by HB!