Thailand Mega Show, Jan 15-23, 2011, at Impact
Yesterday (Jan 18, 2011) I went to the Thailand Mega Show, which is being held at Impact Center in Halls 1-8. The dates of the show are Jan 15-23, 2011 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The primary categories of exhibitors are Furniture, Home Decor, Fashion & Jewelry, Gardening, Health/Beauty/Spa, Wedding, Travel & Leisure, Mother & Child, Books, and Food.
I purposely didn’t eat lunch before the show, and on arrival at 12:30 I headed straight for the food section. I was immediately faced with the happy dilemma of having to choose from very many types of great food. I was first attracted by some delicious-looking stewed chicken, then by a Moo Yang stand selling fat tasty-looking pieces of pork grilled on bamboo skewers. I passed up some meaty pork ribs (as they were spread with a sweet sauce) and some tempting thick filets of Pla Chon (snakehead fish) fried an appetizing golden brown. I was almost lured by the Yum Het (an eye-catching concoction of eight different types of mushrooms), but I was very hungry and feared that the Yum Het would not be sufficiently substantial.
Finally, I settled on two curries: Moo Kapi (pork cooked with shrimp paste) and Moo Kraphrao (pork cooked with basil) on rice in a big bowl, for 40 baht (US$1.33). It was really delicious – moderately spicy with a nice broth that moistened the rice. Unfortunately, before I could eat I had to find a place to sit. There were tables and chairs along edge of the food section, but at 12:30, the heart of lunchtime, they were all taken. I blundered around in a vain search for a seat before finally just standing there scarfing down the food, and I noticed many other people had opted for this alternative as well. Soon, however, a seat opened up for me, and I finished the food (and a bottle of water) more comfortably. (Later as I walked around I came upon a large area of seats just a short distance from the food section, and I filed this fact away for future reference.)
The next section after the food was the clothing section. There were baby’s clothes, women’s clothes, men’s clothes, summer clothes, winter clothes, and all manner of clothing. Among the quality men’s clothes were some nice pants by Arrow, which interested me; however, there was no fitting room and I was unwillingly to buy simply by size number. I came across a table heaped high with small purses of various sizes and colors, selling for 50 baht ($1.67) each, and a crowd of women of all ages was busy sorting through the pile.
Regarding the winter clothes, I wondered if all those heavy winter coats and gloves I saw could possibly be for use within Thailand. I asked a vendor about this and he assured me that indeed his customers were Thai people who would wear the coats in Thailand. He explained that some high-elevation areas in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Loei and others become quite cold. Therefore, the residents of those places, as well as Thai tourists who visit those areas, require some real cold weather gear.
In the jewelry section, there was very little of the handcrafted and/or beaded jewelry that I saw at the OTOP show; it was almost all expensive jewelry made of gold and precious stones. The main exceptions were the booths offering jade ornaments and jade jewelry. One thing in the jewelry section did catch my eye though – a booth selling Casio watches at 50% off the normal price. Among the styles selling for 390 baht ($13.00), I saw the exact sports watch for which I had paid full price a couple months earlier (grumble...) as well as other watches for normal use.
There was an extensive garden section where various large plants and many types of flowers were displayed. Included in this section were water fountains and also ornaments made of a variety of materials, especially ceramics.
Moving on, I came to the health and beauty section. As I’ve mentioned in previous reports, Thailand has a huge industry of herbal products. Many of the beauty booths at the Mega Show featured herbal treatments. Photos of striking before/after shots abounded. There were also medicines for treatments of actual diseases, and there were photographs of hellish-looking diseased body parts, including some unidentifiable internal organs.
One photo showed a leg which was purple-red and looked chewed-up and in an overall terrible condition. The vendor told me that it was a photo of a person whose leg had been set upon by ants (apparently many thousands of them); however, the good news was that with an herbal treatment (available at that booth!) the victim’s leg had made a complete recovery. I was interested in whether the ants had been content to merely gnaw on the poor fellow’s leg or had ventured further afield. However, I was then distracted by the vendor’s proffering of an elixir which brings instant relief from phlegm in the throat. It was a dark brown liquid in a slim bottle four inches tall. Receiving my acceptance to try it, the vendor produced an eye-dropper with which he extracted a bit of the liquid and squirted it down my throat. It had a fairly pleasant sweet/cool taste, but I can’t vouch for its efficacy as I had no phlegm in my throat at that time, unfortunately (unfortunate for the sake of the clinical test, that is). Anyway, I bought a bottle of the solution for 80 baht ($2.67), which is why I was able to tell you the exact height of the bottle, as I’ve just now measured it.
The vendor also gave me a handout sheet which pictured an enigmatic chart labelled “Biological Clock.” It divided the day into twelve 2-hour sections during which a certain body part was most significant. For example, 1:00-3:00 a.m. was for the liver, 3:00-5:00 a.m. was for the lungs, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. was for the heart, etc. I’m sorry but I don’t understand exactly what point(s) the chart was trying to make, so I can’t offer a better explanation. The fact that the days were divided into odd-number 2-hour periods was strange as well.
After that, I came upon two attractive girls who were promoting a device called “Happy Foot,” for removing rough, dry skin off the bottoms of feet. It was a plastic tube about eight inches long, containing batteries, with a sort of flexible rubber knob on the end. The girls showed me a video presentation on their TV monitor which depicted a beautiful Taiwanese woman with terribly unsightly, dry, cracked foot-bottom skin. Fortunately, she was in possession of “Happy Foot” and proceeded to apply the rubber knob to the dry skin, which turned the skin into a white powder, leaving the foot smooth and crackless. I liked the two sales representatives and would like to have made a purchase from them; however, to their chagrin, I was not sufficiently impressed to lay down the 2,000 baht ($67.00) cost of “Happy Foot.”
Speaking of feet, by this time my own feet were badly aching from over three hours of walking, providentially just as I reached a couple open-area booths selling exercise equipment, and most importantly, massage chairs. I walked slowly past the first two booths, hoping to be invited to test a massage chair, but it was not forthcoming. In desperation, at the third booth I shamelessly stopped in front of a massage chair and examined it a lot more closely than actually needed until a salesman approached. Even though he made no immediate offer of a demonstration, I asked him if I might try it out, and he unenthusiastically agreed. This chair was quite similar to the one I had tried at the Bitec show, which I wrote about previously. And like that other chair, this one also featured an uncomfortably hard, knobbly back massage and an insufficiently strong foot massage. The price was 100,000 baht ($3,333.00).
The salesman clearly had nothing better to do, because he invited me to try another massage chair system. This one was divided into two parts: a portable massage cushion which lay on a normal chair, and a separate foot massage unit. The massage cushion, priced at 17,000 baht ($567.00) was unimpressive; however, the foot massage unit, 23,000 baht ($767.00), gave a satisfyingly hard squeezing to the feet, though the foot-bottom treatment was performed by somewhat painful knobs. I must say, though, after about 15 minutes of having my feet strongly massaged and pummeled, I felt quite rejuvenated and ready to continue walking. The salesman did not seem surprised when I thanked him for the demonstration but declined to purchase either massage unit.
Next I entered the aisles of the travel section. Agents were selling tours to various parts of Thailand (and other Asian countries) and handed me brochures, but I wasn’t interested except for an offer from the Euro Hua Hin City Hotel of two nights’ stay for the price of one, which was 1,190 baht ($40.00). I go to the beach city of Hua Hin occasionally so I am holding on to the brochure in case I have use for it.
In the book section was an interesting booth selling atlases and fold-out road maps of Thailand and its regions and provinces. There were also some nice big world maps on the wall, which attracted me immediately, as I have always loved geography. However, to my annoyance, they were Mercator projection maps. I remember when I was in elementary school that I had been misled by the tricky Monsieur Mercator into thinking that Greenland was bigger than Australia, when in fact it is only 25% the size of the island continent. There were also some beautiful globes for sale, and a little one for 90 baht ($3.00) that I regret not having purchased.
Nearby, a Thai man who introduced himself as Sonny (or perhaps Sunny) was demonstrating a type of American full-size three-wheeled exercise bike that is propelled not by peddling but by a side-to-side movement of the rider’s body. Sonny and his helpers were masters at it, wheeling down the aisle beside their booth as visitors to the Mega Show scurried to the side to avoid being run over. I wondered how the organizers of the show would allow this kind of exhibition, but this is Thailand, where people are rather tolerant of such things. Sonny offered me the chance to ride the Trikke (as the tricycle is called) but I couldn’t get the hang of it in that brief time. I pronounced the name of the vehicle as “Tricky” but Sonny said that it’s pronounced “Trike.”
After that, I entered the electronics section and was struck by the vivid colors of the movie “Apocalypto” on a two-meter wide Samsung Blue Ray 3D Full HD TV. As it happened, my favorite scene of the movie was playing: the part where the captives were led into the Mayan capital city. I had to stop and watch this part carefully, not having seen it in the movies or on a good TV. I stopped watching, however, when it got to the silly part where the captors' people were frightened by a mere eclipse of the sun, as if they’d never seen or heard of such phenomena before.
Well, by this time it was 5:30 p.m., and I had been at the show for four hours, so it was time to eat again. I decided to get the Yum Het (the dish containing eight varieties of mushrooms) for 50 baht ($1.67) which I had considered for lunch earlier. It was really delicious but not filling, so I got two skewers of Moo Yang (grilled pork) for 20 baht ($.67) each. They also were tasty. Though the food section was quite busy at this time, I quickly found a seat and didn’t have to resort to the secondary seating area that I’d seen after lunch.
As I was leaving, I saw a booth selling boxed foods, including various types of granola bars. They were marked down from 180 baht ($6.00) per box to 120 baht ($4.00). It made me recall a previous trade show in which my colleague David Hober had purchased a box of this same brand of granola for 40 baht ($1.33). He checked the expiration date on the box and found that it was nearing expiry, but the bars still tasted fine, and we and his wife and kids finished the box off right there. With this memory in mind, I checked the expiration on these boxes at the Mega Show and found that expiry was still six months away, accounting for the much smaller discount than David had received.
Thailand Mega Show was a very good trade fair, and I enjoyed walking though it very much, but its sheer size really tired me out. Lucky for that timely foot massage.