Our last day in Thailand found us heading to Chatuchak market. We read this was a really big market where they sell, clothes, plates, glasses, art, furniture, pets, and everything in between. I assumed it would be interesting, a lot like Eastern Market in DC in which you wander thru and think junk,junk, junk, oh something cool, junk, junk. Man was I wrong. This is THE market to visit. Lots of really nice stuff, not a lot of repeats from stall to stall, and this place is HUGE. I can’t wait to go back.
My one BIG purchase was a very cool 24″ high x 18″ wide sitting Buddha in orange lacquer paint. I’m most pleased with myself. I should see if my old firm might like me to get one for them, Orange was their signature color as well 🙂
Earlier in the morning we went to find an area of town called Monk’s Bowl Village, Soi Ban Batt. It seems there used to be one tribe of Thais who made all the Begger’s Bowls for the monks. Tradition has it that the monks would carry the bowls with them, and whatever the villagers gave them is what they would survive on. Several years ago a switch occurred that allowed the bowls to be made by machine and this tribe soon found their livelihood vanishing. Luckily we found the side streets for this part of town (it was not easy) and you can hear the clang, clang, clang of the tools beating against the metal. What I liked about these is that the tradition holds the bowls should be made from eight pieces of metal symbolizing the 8 paths to enlightenment in Buddhism. What did catch our eye is that to get to these shops we were wandering thru what appeared to be back alleys, but were in fact a neighborhood. We passed open doors with families going about their weekend rest, kept our eyes open for scooters dashing thru and tried not to stare too much. These were narrow allies, run down homes, and close quarters. The juxtaposition of buying a Monk’s bowl in what appeared to be a rough neighborhood was a little unsettling. The woman who made ours was very nice, but knowing that her way of life was moving on and seeing these homes was a little sad to witness.
This bowl and the orange Buddha were my two big souvenirS from the trip, now we just need to move into our new place so I can set them up!