Stuff Thai People Like: Shopping!

Terminal 21

I’ve alluded to it before, but it’s worth repeating: Thai people are seriously in love with shopping. They say* that a new shopping mall opens every year in Bangkok, and I believe it. If anything, this estimate seems a little low. You could probably walk from one end of the city to another without ever leaving the air conditioned deliciousness of these temples of consumption. They offer an escape from the heat, retail therapy, and a way to be passionately patriotic – nothing screams allegiance like supporting the national economy.

I was wandering around the Asoke area yesterday, trying to figure out our Indian visas (more on that later). I needed wifi access to sort out the visa application forms (as if mere internet access could ever penetrate India’s ridiculous bureaucracy), and popped into Terminal 21, one of Bangkok’s favourite shopping centres, in hopes of finding it. They had internet. They also had a whole lotta weirdly wonderful consumer opportunities.

Truly, a dizzying array.

Terminal 21 is designed as a departure terminal, and every escalator leads to a new international destination.

Because airports are so soothing

Some of its coolness was lost on me as I was desperately searching for wifi and raging at Indian bureaucracy, but in hindsight, it is pretty epic. The main escalator takes you to Istanbul.

I may have assumed that these folks were retail workers wearing Istanbul costumes… and then I realized that they were my fellow shoppers.

After a quick glance, I decided that Istanbul a) sold nothing that I could afford, and b) had nowhere to rest my weary soul/laptop, so I jetted off to San Francisco.

Apparently the very essence of San Francisco is Italian chain eateries.

And you can’t have SanFran without the bridge.

San Francisco had wifi, which was simultaneously helpful and unhelpful, because I discovered that while I could fill out my visa application, it was too late to drop it off. I gave up and decided to wander around the rest of the strange Terminal 21 world.

London was up next, and it was complete with a double-decker bus, a phone booth, and Princess Di.

Kitschy but kool

Rome was a brief stop, but I did admire its frescoes.

Ahhhh. Just like the Sistine Chapel, but without the entrance fee.

But the real gem of the day was Tokyo. It contained all of the following:

An elegant geisha…

An ancient warrior…

The mother of all cats… (dedicated to loyal blog reader Tim)

And these fine fellas. Really, they could have been advertising anything from weight loss programs to thong underwear.

As I watched consumption rage around me, the loudspeakers blared terrible Christmas music. One song in particular caught my ear – it sounded like the usual “ooh, babybaby, it’s Christmas,” but then it started spelling out J-E-S-U-S in the least reverent tone imaginable. Truly, shopping is a religion in Bangkok.

Taken from the sky train station. Because everyone needs easy shopping access.

* Don’t know who “they” are, but it sounds authoritative

3 thoughts on “Stuff Thai People Like: Shopping!

  1. Eww. Tony Roma’s has made it all the way to Asia? Gross. Looks more interesting than any mall we have here, tho! I hope your Christmas was great, sis!!

    • They’ve got EVERYTHING in Asia! And the malls are insane. I used to think that Chinook Centre was unique, but Bangkok has ten times the mall-age (but with less parking).

      Christmas was good! I hope yours was great as well.

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