Gladrags to Handbags
Think before you drink, before you write….The average Thai village girl looks upon a visit to the big city shopping mall as a rare treat, window shopping, a low-cost meal and a discounted sale bargain being the order of the day. An iced coffee and a food stall snack make the bus journey home the perfect end to their big city excursion.
A village girl’s wardrobe is mostly made up of cheap designer copies bought at local markets and in Issan country many of these wash friendly items come from over the border in neighbouring Laos and its partner in mime China.
The Thai city of Nongkhai has in the past had a well trampled route made by tourists and expats on visa runs to Laos. Nongkhai sees many farang come and go, ebb and flow, like the Mekong river that separates the two countries. Has the visa run taken the fun from the Nongkhai smile, too many hello’s and goodbyes, pooying mee yim noi. Beyond The Mango Juice replaces à la carte with talart (market)and with a bucketful of baht heads to Nong Khai and its famous Tha Sadet Indo-China market on the banks of the Mekong River.
I’ve never fallen in love with Nong Khai, sure she’s prettier than her sister Udon but where’s the smile. She’s a bit like the good time girl that everyone had, have your fun and get out before the sun rises and the neighbours turn their backs on you once more.
Tony, Maloney and only the lonely…..You don’t care about a broken heart or a marriage ripped apart….You won’t do dat to me.
The Indo-China market lacks a smile but from gladrags to handbags it has it all. Souvenirs, clothing, watches, woodcraft, jigsaw or dinsaw, you name it and they’ve probably framed it, plus enough weaponry to make a Colombian drug baron calculate his sums.
Boy oh boy, dog and soi….You ain’t no glamour queen…..Cheap perfume on a faded costume…..Jaded and paraded, you never kinda of made it…..Stop dreaming, you ain’t for me.
The market is one long stretch and from Boules to jewels it’s all there. The handbags and shoes are the jewel in the crown for the women and whilst for the men the fashion might only turn the heads of the dead, there’s plenty to lure the baht from the fat wallet.
I love the carved woodcraft and have bought many figurines for our village home, but if you can carve a smile on the lips of the mainly Laos and Chinese descendant pitchers then you’re a better man than me.
The echo from the gecko, says you’re from the ghetto…..A botox wreck in a spray on dress…..An officers mess and SAS…Sweet and Sour….You ain’t got no power over me.
Food is a focal point of any large Thai market and the Indo-China talart has a handful of excellent fish restaurants. We sat down to a meal of banin (fish), prawns, spicy salad, spring rolls, a mound of salad , sauces and dips, which in no way could we finish. accompanied with a bottle of beer and nam plao (bottled water) our bill came with a pasted on smile at under 600 baht. With a view overlooking the Mekong River and Laos it was worth every hard-earned baht.
At four in the morning, you’re kind of boring….A wench with the stench of whisky and fags….Gladrags to handbags…..I’ll leave it at dat.
Footnote….I’m having problems at the moment with my internet access and I will get back to your wonderful blogs ASAP and also reply to your much appreciated comments.