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Trouser Trauma in Bangkok

August 26, 2012

I have recently entered into a trouser-related crisis period. I bought 3 pairs with me from England and have managed to rip all three to shreds in quick succession; either in scrambling-on-rock-based activities or by sheer over-wear. Anyway, being a farang, with a big ol’ farang-sized backside, I can’t replace them easily in Thailand where the average clothing size sold in shops is a UK 6-8 (American 2-4). After trashing my last remaining pair I decided I needed to take some drastic action and (after some hasty internet research) headed to MBK shopping centre in Bangkok after school in the hopes of finding something I could actually pull up past my knees.

Now I am not a shopper. My perfect shopping trip consists of going to a shop with something specific in mind, finding that thing reasonably quickly, maybe picking up one or two impulse things that catch my eye en route, paying a

small amount of money and leaving. MBK is the opposite of that experience and I very nearly lost my will to live wandering round this 6 story Primark the size of a city block.

“Trousers trousers trousers…” I muttered like a mantra when I turned another corner and found myself faced with yet more Chang T-shirts and hot-pants. Up an escalator, down a different one, through a slalom of harem pants and linen shirts, round a stand of mobile phone charms and shops that reek of acetone and chatter. I saw something that looked like trousers and squeezed my way into a kind of indoor market where even the gaps between stalls were made for Thai people and the crush was horrendous, I weaved in and out of stands until I found myself completely and utterly lost in what seemed like a mythical labyrinth of multicoloured cloth and decided that I’d had enough and the time had come for me to scarper. Easier said than done. I retraced my steps and seemed to only be getting myself even more lost; every fourth corner seemed to bring me back to a stall two further away from the last one. I walked and walked, getting claustrophobic and frustrated and deafened by haggling Thai ladies, aggressively professional western shoppers and the high-pitched haunting wail of a tired, pissed-off toddler that rose and transcended all the other sound like the soprano in a kind of diabolical cathedral choir.

Eventually I broke free into a whole new patch of market that was as disturbingly quiet as the last part was busy and found myself hopelessly wandering for another half an hour in search of, well anything that might lead me towards an exit or at least a stiff drink. I wondered up and down aisles in a creepy isolation where the only sound was the occasional lone pair of rubber-soled shoes squeaking efficiently down some invisible other aisle. I texted Katie; “shoot me in the face, I’m done, I’m out of my depth, I’m not cut out for this,” and received some reassuring words about perseverance in return. Then, all of a sudden – daylight! Well, not daylight, but the balconies and hallways of the atrium appeared and I knew that I was saved. Some people I’m sure would think that MBK is a major attraction of Bangkok and could happily spend an entire day wondering around it parting with their hard-earned (or otherwise) cash. THESE PEOPLE ARE WEIRD (in a completely tolerant and meant in the best possible sort of way). Never again. I did the sensible thing and ordered stuff online which my lovely parents can forward. Until then I have 3 pairs of very fetching Thai-style, one-size-fits-all pyjama pants and an array of maxi-dresses. Mai Pen Lai.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura Shearwood permalink
    August 26, 2012 5:58 pm

    I hate shopping too so sounds like my worst nightmare!!!!!

    Laura (& John)

    btw. Saw some of your Jersey black butter stuff in a shop today in Guernsey and thought of you xxxx

    Sent from my iPad

  2. August 27, 2012 7:50 pm

    Your shopping mall (love the photo – was it yours?) looks very like one that I visited in my hunt around Bangkok’s shopping malls. They were all horrendous and like you I failed to find what I was looking for.
    One thing that I don’t understand is why when people across the planet go to Thailand and surrounding areas to get clothes made to measure at ridiculously cheap prices, why don’t you get some trousers made? As long as you have got something for them to work from and they have got a tape measure you should be home and dry.

    • August 28, 2012 5:09 am

      Thanks, the photo’s taken from the sky train station over the road.

      I’m not getting them made because I spent ages trying to find a quality tailor (of which there are many) and the vast majority specialise in men’s clothes. For quality women’s work and quality fabric that will stand up to the kind of battering I intend to give them, you’re looking at an absolute minimum of £60 per pair (fair enough considering they’re made-to-measure) but M&S online’ll do me some indestructible cargo shorts for the princely sum of about 15 quid. 🙂

      Considering I need at least 3 pairs to last me for a year M&S is more economical. Besides, every tailor I looked at would do me fitted smart trousers, but not jean shorts or anything like that. x

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