The Amulet Market

Or also known as "When Things Don't Go Your Way."

Yesterday we mapped out an intricate plan to get into city, tour the Grand Palace, and see the Emerald Buddha. It involved taking a train, switching onto one going in almost the opposite direction, taking a shuttle down the Chao Phraya river, and then going back again. So, the first part of this excursion went just fine: we got on the right trains, and the right express boat. The problem was that this was H.M. the Queen's birthday, and as such, the Palace and all its grounds were closed to the public. Oops.

So we strolled past Wat Maharat and took a left. And there, parked on the sidewalk, were the amulet vendors.
Sooo cool. I had hoped to visit the amulet market sometime, so yesterday was as good a day as any.

Men and women had all varieties of amulets laid out on the sidewalk, prices clearly market. No haggling required, as most of them cost less than two dollars. So we knelt down next to the people examining them with magnifying lenses. The boys selected a few for their treasures and keepsakes.

Then we strolled a bit further, and as we reached the corner it began to rain. We ducked into this covered alley that made me feel like we were in some kind of backdrop from The King and I.

And another mystery corner later, we were eyeballs-deep in the amulet market. All sorts of pendants, tokens, cases for amulets, and amazing antiquities made of bronze and clay and ivory! Absolutely Indiana Jones, people.

Hidden behind those decrepit buildings along the Chao Phraya are the most fascinating shops filled with rows of Buddhas, religious staffs, masks, gems with supposed powers, and people poring over them to find something special.

Some are molded with the images of special monks who underwent life-changing experiences, their skills supposedly to be endowed into the talisman, and therefore bringing success and fortune to the bearer. Others bear the image of a specific Buddha, like the reclining Buddha. And then there are a great many of Ganesha and other gods and symbolic animals.
I love the ones the boys chose, and now we have quite the collection.

Like this one of Ganesha that N picked out. Pretty cool, since we had quite a few boat rides yesterday, and learned so much from our mystery tour...


meredith said...

Love reading about your adventures - We just got back from our tour in Saigon, Vietnam and while there, I visited Bangkok twice and fell in instant love - it is such an amazing country, people, culture - Enjoy!!

Noelle Ballinger said...

What a great experience for all of you! I so enjoy reading about all of your adventures too!!! The stuff you and the boys buy is facinating....although I would not be near as daring as you are with the food!