This market is the largest in Thailand and sprawls over 35 acres with rambling alleyways packed with everything you can think of. It was stinking hot and being out of the sun was a relief as we made our way through the rabbit warren, ducking under suspended lights, and pointing out the weird and the wonderful.
Unlike most markets in SE Asia, most things had a price tag, and aside from some vague bartering when buying larger quantities, things stuck to their price. This was a relief in the heat where neither of us felt much like arguing about prices and could decide straight up if we wanted something or not. Some things, like the plethora of plastic fruit and flowers were easy to pass up, but the silks, mobiles, puppets and dust catchers were hard to walk by.
Lunch time loomed and I was starving, so we made our way to one of the tents on the periphery of the market and pointed out various curries which were prepared in front of us and came with icy cold Pepsi in the old style glass bottles. The food was amazing. I loved it and ate well while Bingley felt a bit queasy from a combination of the heat and humidity and prolonged jetlag. We munched on a giant curly potato that had been deep fried and then wandered around some more looking to blow the last of our cash.
Final tally for the day was not photographed, however we all had a bag full of loot and various sparkly accessories by the time the heat had reached saturation point for Bingley and we caught a cab back to our hotel where we washed up and packed our bags ready to head back home. Our flight wasn't until midnight, so we decided to spend some time in the Club Lounge before heading to the roof for the last lot of cocktails and Bangkok sunsets.
The clouds were beautiful, sailing past and veiling the sky beyond while the sun dropped lower and lower in the sky. We settled back as it got dark and chatted about the end of the holiday and the need to not leave it so long ever again between stamps in the passport. Neither of us were sad about going home, I was starting to miss the kids abominably and the hotel life after a while starts to feel a little bit like you're wearing someone else's clothes. It's fun for a visit, but it's not the life I want to live.
We left the hotel around 8pm, and drove through the streets. Overpasses on the highway still crowded with those escaping the floodwaters and a sobering reminder of the reality that we had cocooned ourselves from on the 34th floor. We rode in silence as we watched the planes take off and land in the distance, coming closer and closer until we were on the concourse and our bags were being unpacked by our driver. Standing in the brilliant neon blue lights and no longer being excited, anticipatory travelers, but instead being weary ones making our way home.
We checked in, ate bad food in the terminal and then wandered through the ridiculous, overpriced stores that repeated themselves over and over searching for a bookstore where I could buy a book or magazine. Finally finding one in amongst the Chanels and the Bvlgaris so that we could curl up outside our gate and read away the hours.
It was a long and painful flight with an incredibly short night as we watched the inflight movie and tried to doze sitting upright. Dreaming of days when we could afford business class and stretch out and sleep, curled up in blankets. We arrived soon enough though, looping low over the Brisbane coastline and coming in to land. Disembarking quickly, collecting bags and finding ourselves again on home soil. Bingley's Dad and the two girls were there to meet us. Excited and ebullient, chattering away so quickly that I missed half the words.
Then we were back in our car, our new red car that we'd owned for one whole day before we'd left, driving down the freeway towards home. And I sat back in my chair, leaned back my head and closed my eyes, wondering if I'd dreamed the whole thing.