Monday, March 19, 2007

Hades Express, Don't Leave Home Without It

My last day in Bangkok was spent wandering around the labyrinth that is Chinatown. I went there for two reasons. One: this is one of the few areas of the city that I had not devoted any time to and Two: I had to check out the Hell Money. I had read in my guidebook about an alley named Soi Itsaranuphap in the heart of Chinatown where you find a line of shops selling fake money, issued from the Bank of Hades and household goods made of paper. Chinese Buddhists will purchase these, take them to the temples and burn them so that their loved ones who have passed on can receive them in the afterlife. As far as unusual religious practices go, you've got to admit, this one is a doozy. What I found in that alley was even better than I could have hoped for. Not only did they have cash in just about every denomination, size and color, they had every comfort and luxury items you could think of. You could get a Mercedes (with a driver, of course), a computer (PC only, somehow Steve Jobs has not expanded his empire to the afterworld), shirts with matching ties, cigarettes (warning labels no longer required), rotating fans (which anyone who has walked around in the heat and humidity of Bangkok would think to buy for their loved ones), airline tickets, passports, credit cards, helicopters, personal planes (charter: it's the way to go in the afterlife as well), makeup, name it, you can find it in this quirky little alley. If only finding that alley had been so easy....

1 comment:

  1. Hi Berti,

    Some great capturing of the local ambiance of the Buddhist culture in Bangkok. Have you ever considered becoming a "Travel Contributor" to one of any numerous of travel magazines? Since you have the wit to match your journal log of pictures. :)

    Ciao, Ivan.