We went for a walk through Chinatown one morning. We found many street vendors and a maze of side streets, called soi, that were filled with small shops (see photo #1, at left.) The shops sold everything you could imagine, with some devoted to things as specific as plastic bags. There were a great number of streetside food vendors (photo #2) including this satay cart. There were a number of women with carts selling fresh sugar cane juice, which they will squeeze for you while you wait. The machinery was quite impressive.
Even early in the morning, the streets were quite congested. It got worse as the day progressed. While walking through the streets, we saw women laborers riding to work in the back of a dump truck. They saw Jim taking their picture and waved. At one point, we climbed up to a pedestrian walkway to cross a busy street, and found ourselves within reach of the power distribution lines, carrying 220 volt electricity.
Some of the most interesting things we saw were the dried foods that were on offer in one part of the market. The variety was impressive. Photo #3 shows fruit, nuts, mushrooms, and seafood, all in one place. There were also vendors who specialized in one product, as in this photo of dried shrimp, and another of dried squid.
On the edge of Chinatown was a large vegetable market (photo #4) with surprisingly high quality produce for sale. We saw all the conventional vegetables, including peppers, potatoes, and onions, along with the banana leaves on which to serve the prepared food. We also saw unusual vegetables that we could not identify.
The flower market is spread along the sidewalks on Thanon Atsadang (Atsadang Street). The flowers are amazing, with many varieties and colors. The orchids and roses were in particular abundance. The flower sellers spend a great deal of time preparing the flowers for sale. Some are separated into individual petals and then strung together on cords for use as offerings at the temples. Others are made up into creative floral arrangements.
In addition to the flowers, we also saw live plants and some very unusual materials such as these lotus seed pods. At our guest house they had an arrangement of lotus seed pods with a large lotus flower.
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