Around Mahasarakham: The OTOP Marketplace

Note: With this entry, I’m starting a new category of posts called Around Mahasarakham (AKA Around Maha Sarakham). People have been asking exactly what the town we live in is like, so I’ll try to document it better in the future.

Built to fail just last year, the OTOP marketplace is already sliding into moldy disuse, and the unmistakable stench of broken loser dreams permeates the entire area. It’s one of my favorite places to hang out as its right down the street from work, it’s always deserted, and my old rusty car just belongs in the parking lot.
Also, I buy bottled water in bulk there for half what it’s sold for at Big C or Tesco (that’s saying a lot), and occasionally look at the farm tools, 4th rate electronics, and used Korean black market shoes sold at various loser stores there just for fun… This place is cool because it’s a horrible pit of failure and wasted tax dollars, and everybody there knows it. Most of the shops some how manage to make enough to keep going it seems, but I just don’t know how. I’ve been there 35 or 30 times, and the most cars I’ve ever seen in the huge parking lot (not counting the ones they used to sell secondhand out front) was still less than 10.
Anyway, the various shops and stalls that comprise the marketplace just aren’t very interesting, so I’ve never taken photos of them. A month ago, though, I came across a strange sight behind the administrative office building where I’d parked my car in the shade:

Nice shoes!

Of course, Max thought this was totally hilarious but didn’t appreciate his mother swatting his hand away when he tried to goose them…

Big C Mahasarakham

In November 2008, Thai superstore Big C opened a branch store in Maha Sarakham, just a few minutes down the street from us. Life hasn’t been the same since, mostly in good ways since we pay less for more and no longer have to venture downtown to the small Tesco with shitty parking inside the SermThai department store. Also, there were certain things – such as sporting goods and bicycles – that were only sold at ridiculous markups at small stores until now, so watching said shops close up forever is satisfying on some very small, very human level. On the flip side, traffic on the main street in front of our house has increased greatly – sometimes making a U-turn in front of Big C is like sitting inside a supercollider and watching electrons whizz by.