If you like shopping, you would love MBK - one of Bangkok's mega shopping malls. With a footprint as big as The Houses of Parliament, it has six floors devoted to the city's shopping religion and let's throw in a multi-screen cinema, a hotel and enough eateries to feed the entire population of Switzerland at once. One of the good things about MBK is that it is cool and you don't have to brave the city's sultry streets that will often have you sweating like the Trevi Fountain after just ten paces.
The mega-mall doesn't just house familiar corporate stores, it is also home to hundreds of small businesses selling anything from roller blinds to camera accessories and from sex toys to cuddly toys. Arlo Guthrie once sang, "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant" but he was probably thinking about MBK.
So on a bright, sweaty Sunday morning what was your Yorkist correspondent doing at MBK? After all he is an awkward bugger who often derides the world of commerce. Well I was there chiefly on behalf of the French brother who had requested that I purchase two "knock off" or imitation Rolex Submariner watches for him.
I prowled the fourth and fifth floors like a tiger in a jungle. At the first little shop the attractive female assistant kept grabbing my arm in a rather un-Thai way, urging me to give her her first sale of the day. But she was charging 3000 baht per watch. It was at perhaps the fifth little shop that I went in for the kill after I had pressed the assistant down to 1500 baht per watch. I hope the French brother will be happy. Personally, I have never seen the attraction of fake goods.
After the shopping bonanza, I went to the fifth floor food court and enjoyed a delicious lunch - a fresh young coconut, pad thai in an egg wrap and my most favourite dessert of all time - freshly sliced mango with sticky rice and coconut milk. Mmmm!
|At the Jim Thompson House|
Next it was on to the "Jim Thompson House" near the National Stadium. This is a group of traditional Thai buildings assembled by the legendary Jim Thompson - an American immigrant who single-handedly revived the Thai silk industry after the second world war and then in 1967 disappeared in mysterious circumstances in Malaysia. It was here that your faithful correspondent nearly lost his wife's camera after leaving it on a garden bench but fortunately it was rescued by two German tourists - a small reparation for World War II.
But the shopping spree was not over. Being a fashion conscious trend setter, I then took the Sky Train (BTS) to Asok at Sukhumvit to pick up my two tailor made shirts from "Harry's":and then time for two refreshing pints of "Tiger" ale in the ex-pat favoured "Game" bar before heading back to northern Bangkok where whiteys like me are thin on the ground though commonly not in the belly.