Saturday, 7 March 2009

Chatuchak extravaganza!

I have braved the crowds and the heat of Bangkok's infamous Chatuchak weekend market countless times but as its namesake suggests, I usually only go there on weekends. So when Illy told me that the place becomes an exclusive plant market on Wednesdays and Thursdays, I promptly booked myself a flight up to Bangkok last Tuesday evening. The days leading up to the trip was met with much excitement and anticipation. Much of it was fuelled by the very encouraging advice given by the usual (gardening) suspects on the plant forum I belong to. In fact, they seemed a whole lot more excited than I was, telling me what to look out for, where the best deals were, how much I ought to bargain for certain plants, how early I ought to get there etc. It was all very amusing.

So, I wasted no time at all and left for the market after an early breakfast with Illy at the hotel. If there is such a thing as plant heaven, then Chatuchak is as close to heaven as one can get. The perimeter roads were lined with stall after stall selling just plants; orchids, bromeliads, nepenthes, flowering shrubs, creepers and vines etc. The entire market was just brimming with endless possibilities.

I spent the first hour walking around the entire perimeter, taking photographs and scouting for rare finds and good buys. Although the thought of having to clear customs in both Bangkok and Singapore and risk having the plants confiscated did weigh heavily on my mind. But I caved in to my apprehension and ended up with quite a significant haul consisting of 3 clumps of spanish moss, a bagful of tillandsias, 3 bromeliads (A. triangularis, A. tillandsoids & N. pauciflora) , 3 pots of nepenthes, one passiflora, eight species of orchids, a bag of live sphagnum moss and three variegated Xanthosoma (a sort of aroid). There were others which I regret not getting, but there's only so much that I can carry home by myself. The next time around, I will bring Gerry with me.

I have to say though, the nepenthes and in particular, the A. triangularis did appear rather dubious over the x-ray machines.

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