Tuesday, July 31, 2007

You Had Me At “Makruk”

Just a short post to say: We’re in Bangkok and things are going great.

I’m looking forward to absorbing Thailand’s ancient and noble Buddhist culture and shedding my sinful attachments to the meaningless material things of this plane of existence, but in the meantime... hey look at the cool crap I just bought!

We’re still jet-lagged and we’ve only been to the store twice in this country, once to an expensive local grocery store full of European imports, and once to good old Carrefour, but somehow I’ve managed to buy three or four toys already. Two of them are mysterious Japanese Super Mario items promoting the recent DS game “New Super Mario Bros.”. In both cases I had no idea what to expect once I opened the package, which added to the fun.

One was a tin case about the size of a pack of cards, which contained some Mario stickers and about ten tiny pieces of tic-tac size candy. The second one was a box containing little Mario and Goomba figurines, as well as some more diminutive Japanese candy. I will probably get some more similar things as I come across them. For some reason we didn’t get quite this kind of random Japanese item in Malaysia. I guess I’ve moved slightly north.

My other main purchase so far has been a Thai chess (a.k.a. Makruk) set. I’ve already chronicled my feverish desire to possess one of these sets, and I’m still a bit in shock at the contrast between the difficulty I had finding one downtown, and the ready availability of the blasted thing in Carrefour, which, let’s face it, is French Wal*Mart. Anyway, I am pretty excited about finally having my hands on a set of these unique, elegant, vaguely Buddhist-temple-looking pieces, and I’m looking forward to playing against some Thais. Who am I kidding? I’m looking forward to playing against myself and pretending I know some Thai people when in reality I only know this oddly chubby horse, and I’m pretty sure that he hates me.

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