Thursday, February 22, 2007

New pledge in life

The good
After a long discussion over coffee that I had, catching up with Cookie on my trip to Thailand, we have decided that enough is enough. We have spent so much to boost our country’s economy only to be ripped off our hard earned greens. While this is not my first trip to Thailand but certainly the one where I am fully equipped with the knowledge of fashion and appreciation for the ‘different’ things in life. I have to stressed that I fully respect others who might not like what I like and totally comfortable with going with the general masses on opinion and taste and being different does not make me any better or worst, just different.

Anyway, back to the story I promised that I will try not to bore you with the details and pictorial guide to every nooks, corners and food essay. After all I can’t write a travel novel like Frances Mayes’ Under The Tuscan Sun so I won’t bother. What I will talk about is basically the joy of shopping which I have never experienced before.

Of course before we get to that details, I have to say that I finally realised and understand completely the lure of cute Thai boys. The smile, the face – even for a person like me can’t resist their charm. Now me and Cookie need to practice our fake smiles more often. No wonder we are losing out to our neighbour, both tourism and love life.

As some of your who are well traveled would probably be rolling their eyes at this – I have one thing to say to you. You are probably rich by nature, using your daddy’s money or travel due to work, so don’t you dare. Most of the time, the money comes out from my own skinny pocket. My earning is shit and as many would have been aware by now that I have some sort of substance abuse and addiction – shopping.

Back to shopping, contrary to what many would believe, I did not come back with thousands of things. After all there’s just so much that you can buy and I aint buying a Red Bull T shirt or Jim Thompson’s elephant plush toy imitation. Cookie went to Bangkok two years ago and got me an original btw.

What I did got was the national uniform – Lacoste polo t shirt as a slim fit range would throw you back for 320 bucks locally can be purchased for 260 before VAT and tourist discount. That was my sole purpose of going there but I didn’t stop there. After visiting some expensive night market (I just found that out), I ended up with a one of a kind man bag, incense, a pair of slippers for Cookie, one pair of shorts which I swear I saw in Philosophy selling for 3x the price I got in Bangkok, obligatory unique fridge magnet and carton of ciggie (FYI, HSBC card gets you extra 5% on top of the tax free) for Queen Bitch and a hand painted fully illustrated calendar. I know the calendar was abit silly as it’s Feb now and who the hell go to Thailand to but a calendar but it was handpainted and one of the kind. What I like about that place was in fact some stuff are unique, handmade by some designers. I’ve finally understood why Bangkok (and sometimes Singapore but I am guessing it’s more because of the language, facilities and safety) is always the chosen creative hub for international agencies because they are damn good. Feels like the environment fosters creativity and cost efficiency. Even this specialty shop that Cookie is very close with gets their stock from designers over there, they are that good.

Which makes me feel sad for our country. All we have are fake goods and a whole lot of cheap CDs and DVDs. Even at Bangkok, when they fake it they really have the good stuff – all the CDs of rare and non-mainstream music. Don’t get me started on the home furnishing part, I can so decorate a whole house using their stuff and it was that good and cheap.

The bad
But of course not everything cheap was nice. There was also plenty of mass produced stuff which was fine and one would say, maybe my calendar was the same. Well, if it’s true then I will never know but good on them for fooling me. When you think that you got the cheapest deal, you will find a corner offering even better. Just like how in Msia that you get a Paul Smith tee for 360 bucks can be purchased at 290 and I will never buy from them here in KL. Ever again. Cookie and I are so going back again. Muslim pilgrims for Haj and we will for shopping. I swear in the name of Gucci, Chanel, Prada and Paul Smith – NO MORE SHOPPING FOR ONE WHOLE YEAR. Let’s hope I can keep that up even if it meant no more Starbucks, glamourous places and shopping.

Their collection is so complete and don’t even get me started with their duty free boutiques. Hermes, Boss, Burberry (beyond cheap), Armani, Gucci, Chanel and Coach. Me and sis managed to catch some shopping there in Coach – ladies, believe me…it’s that cheap and we settled for a handmade mini sling bag. 670 bucks. We didn’t have to think twice especially our flight was delayed. We really wasted no time and it was planned with military precision. I had map, my water (two big glass before I sleep every night as the weather was hot, hot, hot), Redoxen and the foot massage did wonder after a long hard day of walking.

The ugly
One thing though about the trip is, discounting Lascote and Coach, I didn’t spend that much as I only had a 1000 Baht with me from the ang pow that my parents gave and it was after all a fully sponsored trip. I really shouldn’t be complaining about having to accomadate to their needs, speed and the cringeworthy tour guides. It is easier for my parents to be on a guided tour as opposed to planning it on your own. However what pisses me off is that these tours send you to places after places that sell you rubbish so that they can make a commission and leave out the good stuff.

Imagine them sending you to see the mini Four Faced Buddha (no offence to the Buddha and worshippers) that is 50 years old and skip the rich and thousand years old Grand Palace because they want to save time to get to spend more in their selected places. After all you pay them for incense that goes into their pocket and if they bring you to the palace, you end up paying 250 Baht to the Thai’s Government instead for the conservation of those beautiful and historical places. These places are so well run that they have seminar rooms with projectors to demostrate their products. Most of the time I did not particpate in their ‘activities’ which you need to pay extras for food and instead, I chilled out at the beach sipping my over priced beer (still cheap compared to home) and under the shades and beach seats which you need to pay for. Everything cost you money – even to shit or pee. I was glad to leave those places. And for meals, it’s always Chinese food (I guess they have to cater to the elderly who wouldn’t want any other which I fully respect) and if it wasn’t for supper time when me and sis can venture out to some places where you have to order food with sign language, I wouldn’t have tasted some of their local dishes.

Having said that, I think it was money and time well spent. I didn’t get sick like many people always do – don’t need a holiday to get over a holiday as I was very careful and generous with water and very glad to be home. Getting back to work. As Cookie and I talked in reminiscences of the memories of shopping, travel mishaps and also family drama, it has dawned upon me that it doesn’t matter who loves you – even blood is not always thicker than water – as long as you love yourself and treat yourself and everybody around with kindness and due respect, that is just enough. After all, life is too short to be wasted on worrying and complaining about the bad things as there’s so much in this world to see, taste and experience. It’s great when you have great friends to travel with and parents to sponsor your trips. But it’s fabulous because you have a friend who agrees with you that Bangkok is a place that you need to add to under I Heart and Go Again list. Here’s to our pledge to save more!!!

P.S. Anyone looking to buy tons of stuff from Ikea? I have tons of vouchers for sale...will throw in discount. I am so desperate for cash that I will even sell Cookie if I could. (I love you girl!)

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William said...

I'm going end of March! Do I get an imitation Jim Thompson elephant?

Buaya said...

Glad you are back... :) The prices are in RM or in Bhat??... I blur liao...

thompsonboy said...

Erm...some in RM ...some in Baht..

I slap u Will. GO TO JIM THOMPSON. No where else.

savante said...

Next time go to Bangkok on your own. Not difficult to get around armed with a map.

BTW I hate tours too :P

k.t.x said...

u write well. will read further as it is too absorbing.

yeah, bkk takes my breath away always.