Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Scenes From Bangkok's Chinatown - Part I

I finally got to Chinatown after my last failed attempt in November where the guide whom I had hired left me on the outskirts with vague directions. Yee of poor navigational skills mucked things up royally of course and it took me 45 mins just to find my way to the closest BTS station to had back to the InterCon feeling very upset.
This time I made sure that the odds were stacked in my favor with two friends as guides. We literally ate our way through a number of hawker food stalls but that will be my next post.Chinatown is a hodge podge of building and lots of narrow back alleys filled with little shops selling everything that you can imagine. To me it is what makes the area unique, and if you don't already know it the messy wire that crisscross everywhere are power and communications cables. This is one city that does not have underground cabling. Another unique feature is most eateries have their kitchens as their store front.The wash area can be on the street itself. The lady in the picture was cleaning up after the morning breakfast crowd and her water was tapped from the road, the white hose running out of the pavement.I think that the shops here also have their unique charm in their store fronts, the signboards bear both Thai and Chinese.Fish maw was this shop's specialty.To the denture maker on the five-foot way. Notice the dentures floating in water in the three plastic boxes and the man sitting beside the table waiting for his denture to be made. Despite the no smoking sign the man waiting for his denture was smoking as he tried to strike up a conversation by guessing where I came from. "Japan? Korea? Hong Kong?" he called out. I just nodded Hong Kong and fled. These are scenes that have long disappeared from the streets of Singapore.

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