Adventures in Pahurat

You would think after a year in Bangkok it would be hard to find myself surprised, but that's the crazy thin
g about this city- its not. The winding alleyways may always wind a little further. Small unmarked walkways may open into a cluster of fabric shops. Or upon a second glance, the toy store you passed by last week might also specialize in handbags or jewelry in the back. It doesn't always make much sense.

I find it totally frustrating sometimes. Such as my hunt for colored pipecleaners that led me back and forth on Soi Wanit in Chinatown for hours before I could claim victory. The things you need are always there, but your umbrellas may be for sale in a pet shop. Or your flipflops at a sidewalk vendor next to pocketwatches. I can handle it, but only if I have the time. When I don't, I feel a stong homesickness and yearning for the days I could hop in the car to get birthday wrap, and know exactly where to buy it.

But I'm rambling...

Seems legit.

Bangkok is like a crazy head of cabbage, with curly leaves and a million tightly-packed layers. And that's the best analogy I can come up with right now, because when I think of the challenges of delving further and further ino each of Bangkok's distinct neighborhoods, I can tell you it hasn't been easy. You even have to be a bit brave sometimes. Or maybe a bit foolish.
A few weeks ago I went shopping in the area of Little India with a friend, and I made the mistake of thinking I knew the ins and outs of the area. As we wandered down a new alley and then another, we found ourselves surrounded by frangrant incense shops, bakeries, gems and amulets, and wildly colorful decorations. In the interior alleys of the fabric market, one man gestured for us to go up these steps.

I balked. And we pressed on around another corner, only to look up and find scarves and bright lanterns hung above us on the second floor. Rewind! Go back! Where were those stairs?! And a few minutes later we were peeking through dusty shelves of bangle bracelets, trinkets and elephant keychains. A shop that specialized in corduroy fabric. I picked up cheerfully dyed fabric lanterns for 200baht apiece, not quite sure why or for whom. Some wall hangings may have also jumped into my shopping bag from this amazing store of embroidered goodies from kashmir. And a few tubes of henna paste. Satisfied, we wandered into Chinatown for a few more items before hopping the khlong taxiboat back to our neighborhood.

Arriving at home, I felt like I had uncovered a bag of curiosities, albeit some were quite musty and dank smelling. But I savored my silly bag of treasures-a pretty little brass bell with elephants on it; a wrap skirt
embellished with sequins, a pack of party favors for later in the year.

Yet another layer of that cabbage has been peeled, but underneath so many more...