Wedding Prep and Bangkok Shopping Malls

Trip Start Oct 15, 2009
Trip End Dec 15, 2013

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Noah and Sumalai's home/factory/office, finally it looks like a wedding will be happening soon!  For the past week, I stayed in the Bangkok apartment on Soi Pramote near Noah's, to help with wedding preparations.

Living in Bangkok is interesting, to say the least.  This city of 17 million is big and busy, but also, it is small.  I was having lunch one day in a tasty Lebanese Restaurant I like in Baan Silom.  There was a western gentleman at a nearby table that looked familiar to me. I'm not shy. I asked him if his name was Isaac, and yes, although I had not seen him for more than 20 years, it was in fact our cousins Hallie and Elissa Stern's Dad!  Isaac invited me to dinner at the Shangri La's wonderful gourmet buffet that evening. We had such a nice visit. Anoher evening we went to a favorite Thai place he knew too.  These evenings were definitely a highlight of my week! Thank you Isaac.

Noah and Isaac met for lunch and are now acquainted. Funny that in the 5 years in Bangkok, Noah had never met Isaac. Now they know each other.

I spent 3 Days at MBK!  MBK is a 7 story shopping center filled with kiosks, each independently owned.  There are food courts and restaurants and a cineplex too. I went to MBK with several tasks to accomplish.  In Vietnam, I bought a beautiful 3 meter hand embroidered tablecloth and napkin set for a wedding gift for Noah and Sumalai. at MBK I found an embroidery shop. I had their names and their wedding date embroidered in the center panel in white.  I hope someday they will enjoy using this for large family meals.

Aha I thought. Custom embroidered hats would make a great welcome bag gift for wedding guests at a beach destination wedding!  I designed and ordered 75 light and dark blue denim hats with N & S embroidered in pretty colors. I need them in 2 days. At "Seven Sis" 6th floor MBK, no problem!

Next I went looking for a place that could translate the welcome letter and wedding program I wrote into Thai and print both in Thai and in English. English translation to Thai? The first 6 or 7 shops I tried looked at me like I was nuts. Then I found "Print Express" on Floor 2. The ladies there were so helpful. One called a friend who knew English and by evening, I could envision "Marlyn" and a small group of her friends collaborating on my unusual project.  This piece was a bit complicated, but they did a great job. Because the ladies at Print Express were so talented with the layout and graphics, my letters and programs were soon ready to be rolled and tied with pretty ribbons.

Shopping malls, especially Bangkok style overwhelm me.  But I had a long list of gifts to buy for Sumalai's family, for Mark and I to take to Khon Kaen. Back to MBK I went.  I managed to find everything I needed, although it took the better part of a day.  I had to stop an eat and rest too. There are great food courts and, individual restaurants there. The Fifth Avenue food court was charming. It would be unusual to see anything similar in the USA. Upscale and quiet with jazz music and a choice of many gourmet international food stations and of course a full bar too; I really enjoyed it. You get a "credit card" at the beginning and charge everything. Then at the end, they scan your card and you pay the bill.

There are so many shopping malls to choose from in Bangkok. I love to walk through the fancy Gaysorn mall on the way to Central World Trade. The Gourmet grocery store on the first floor of the Siam Paragon can provide an absolutely free meal because there are so many tasting stands there. The food court at the Paragon is the most fun too. Platinam Center is great if you are looking for lower prices or wholesale purchases. And Pantip, well if you need any electronics or accessories (computer, camera, cellphones, mp3's etc.), then just go there.

For shopping needs, don't forget Chinatown. I needed gift bags and wrapping paper. At MBK these things were priced by the piece so Sumalai and I headed off to Sampeng in Chinatown to buy wholesale. About this outing, I hope she will one day tell my grandchildren. We each took a motorbike taxi. I was prepared and wore my face mask. A motorbike in Hanoi is an experience, but in Bangkok it is even more so! The motorbikes weave between and through the cars, driving with and against the traffic and on through the small sois and on even the sidewalks to bring you to your destination. I am not so young and it is an unusual sight to see a tall older farang woman straddling a motorbike in Bangkok.

In Sampeng, the narrow sois are crowded, interesting and fun. I will be sure to take Faye and Lynn to visit this. It's rfun!

My colorful welcome bags are in the Reception area of Noah's office. Our Sin Sort gifts for Sumalai's family are wrapped, and I am moving out of the apartment and meeting Mark and David tomorrow.  There will be weddings soon!

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