October 2019 –Mae Sot, on the Thai/Burmese border, makes for an interesting adventure. The main reason I was in town was to look for old beads and any other antique or curiosities that might have drifted across the border. Alongside the Mae Nam Moei River on the Thai side of the border is an expansive market that sells a mixture of imports from Burma, black-market clothes, cheap Chinese electronics, food, carved wood, gems and jewelry. It’s located 5km west of Mae Sot;
I’ll be heading to the US next week, and one of the things I’m looking forward to is attending the Oregon Country Fair. It’s one of the biggest craft shows in the US, and my son has a booth there. Over the last forty years I’ve always made it a point to look for antique beads wherever I travel, and I travel quite extensively. It wasn’t hard to put together a couple of stands of rare beads. Since each bead has a story, I thought I should break this post into two parts, one for each necklace. The first one I’ll cover is the most expensive, with the Bronze-Age Bactrian animal figure as the pendant.
The day after I visited the Russian Market I decided that I wanted to check out the Night Market as a comparison. I remembered it as being quite colorful when I’d visited it several years before. But now it wasn’t much more than a tourist trap. Luckily I wandered through a very picturesque street market just a little to the south of it.
The Russian Market is one of the oldest covered markets in Phnom Penh. It gets its name from the large number of Russian expats who used to shop there in the 1980s. Make of that factoid what you will.
It was the only outing where I had to engage a tuk-tuk, but it was only a $4.00 ride, and, yes, they use US dollars more than local currency. I headed over in the late morning so I could enjoy lunch there as well.
In April 2018 I traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to get a 60-day Thai visa, the first step towards getting a Retirement Visa to live permanently in Thailand. I chose a mid-range guest house near the Mekong River, arrived on a Thai Airlines flight in the mid-afternoon, then started looking for a travel agent to help me obtain the needed visa.