Sampeng Lane, Chinatown, Bangkok

Most people know this narrow lane as “walking street”. It runs through the heart of Chinatown for about a mile. You can buy anything here from tiny shops and stalls lining the lanes. No more than two metres wide in places, it gets clogged with people, tuktuks, bikes, motorcycles, trolleys filled with supplies and mobile food sellers.

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I enjoy taking quirky photographs, such as this one showing black toothbrushes on display. I can’t see these catching on – though there is a brand of toothpaste called “Darlie” (not Darkie) which features a black man wearing a top hat on the packaging.

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I am not sure there is much of a market for pink furry baseball caps decorated with fake silver balls and diamanté. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong.

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Or sexy Japanese-style aprons. Give me Catch Kidston any day.

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There is a shop devoted to selling Chinese tassels, a stall with a Dulux type colour chart to help you chose material, bizarre children’s backpacks featuring monsters, flashing plastic tat and weird hats.

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Most of my posts contain photographs of food. How about sculpted pomegranates, and perfectly skinned oranges?

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All manner of tee shirts are for sale. Some have meaningless messages, but this one I thought was quite apt. I don’t know if the wearer knew what it meant, however.
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I like photographs of the sellers as well as their produce. Red hair and smiling face as she looks at a photo album; dodgy version of Nicholas Cage’s hairstyle; jester cap.

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The lane gets a bit wider at its eastern end. That means more room for sweating men to haul in trolleys stacked high with boxes. Once they get up momentum, they can’t stop quickly so they sometimes have a colleague clearing the path ahead.
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In these packed places, pickpockets thrive. There are loudspeakers every hundred metres blaring out a warning.

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So what did I buy? A Korean pair of nail clippers (the chain has already fallen off) and a bag of green, unripe mango slivers with a fishy, garlicky, spicy and sweet dipping sauce; these taste wonderful together. But I did consider purchasing some ancient Chinese enamelware, Bumper Harvest brand, and a set of concentric dishes, Rabbit Brand.

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