Bangkok - Jatujak
weekend market

They say that if you can't find it in jatujak, it doesn’t exist. They say a lot of things, but in this case I almost agree with them. Eight years now, still visiting this weekend market on a regular basis almost once a month, and still, every single time, I get los there in this maze of chaotic organic merchandise mayhem.

The fact it is huge is obvious. We are talking about the biggest market in a twelve million people megalopolis, where shopping is the national sport, and sidewalks are full with small portable markets each and every day of the week.

But it is not the size that counts, or at least not in this case. It is the variety, the sheer acceptance of each and every possible sellable item in this puzzle of merchants and tourists.

Some of the shops are fixed in time and space, never changing , never bowing their heads to the trends of the moment, the fleeting fashion and the fast buck, they are like the planets in this navigation game of trying to find your way in this huge open space.

A map will do you no good, and I am sure half of the store owners will give you the wrong directions if you ask, just for the fun of it. You gotta pass the time somehow, and there is nothing like a big white sweaty foreigner carrying five shopping bags and a full to the rim backpack waddling in a puddle of sweat into the distance as you laugh under your somtam.

I rarely buy anything these days, as the years here have already burdened me with unbelievable amount of wonderful yet extremely unnecessary knick knacks of vague Thai or  Asian spirit. Been there, bought that.



And still I find myself there every time, walking around, deliberately trying to get lost in the crowds, in the small allies of stores and stalls, of cloths, and food, and toys for children, toys for adults, beautiful artifacts for the home, second hand shoes, puppies, guppies and other strangeness delights for a nice Saturday afternoon.

I do have an excuse as I like to buy my oolong tea, in big bags of odorous leaves from a famous shop which sells spices and herbal mixtures right in the middle of the market. Well, near the middle. If you ask me for instructions I will not be able to help, and I don’t even think the store has a sign or even a name. I just find it like a homing pigeon, circling around getting closer, trusting the force. Well, trusting my luck.

And that is the best way to enjoy this market, this huge playfield of whatever money can buy, and whatever your wife will let you carry home with you, to just let go, and abandon yourself to the natural flow of the market, that ebb and flow inside a wandering mass of people, not looking for anything specific but just roaming the buying fields , waiting for something to catch your eye.
And when it is hot enough? When you have suffered enough and are completely wet and puffing reed? That is the time to aim your steps to section 7, the art galleries in the market, where young artists display what will not go to the fancy galleries in the center of town.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, art is great and all but this is not why I sent you there. In the entrance to section 7 is the best lychee shake in the world, or any other fruit you might desire. They serve them in hand made huge painted glasses which resemble more flower vases. Ice, fresh fruit, a bit of syrup for the kick and you are a new person, ready to continue trailblazing for something more to buy.



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