Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bangkok shopping

Surprisingly, electronics in Bangkok are not cheaper than in Europe. The selection is enormous, confusing, and colorful like only Asia knows how to do. The Panthip electronics mall is a vertical Akihabara - six floors with everything from cell phone protectors to blinking LED jewelry. The biggest game in town is Android tablets, not cell phones anymore. Much of the time the devices crammed into the booth displays are one generation behind, and much is ultracheap Chinese junk.

The electronic market further south is like Chinatown, a dense maze of stalls under plastic tarps. But instead of vegetables and fish, you get cables, components, loudspeakers, more LEDs, synthesizers, batteries, and everything else designed to move electrons inside. Plus bootleg DVDs and CDs. Foreigners get grabbed by the arm and bodily dragged into back offices where the bottom drawer is stuffed with porn.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Left Vietnam on the last day permitted by my visa. The time passed quickly. Bangkok is easy to reach from anywhere in Asia, and I like it, so I'll be spending a few days here.

Although I have seen Bangkok Grand Palace before, it's been a long time so I spent a few hours there, early in the morning before the tourist buses descend on it like locusts. Since the palace is used by the king on various occasions, it's run by the army. Not just security but everything, including selling ice cream, in proper uniforms. In a few places they have separate shoe racks for foreigners and Thais. The whole place is restored with such perfection that it feels a little sterile.