Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thai Weekend or Sogo Weekend

The new giant green Sogo BR4 above the Chunghsiao-Fuhsing MRT station in Taipei is scheduled to open this coming weekend, as far as I know. I haven't been anywhere near it recently, so I can't tell whether it's ready to open, but since it's probably less complicated than a high-speed rail line ...
I'll have to miss the opening though, because my significant other scheduled a guerrilla-style one-and-a-half-day trip to Bangkok for me. Nothing directly related to fashion, we'll be visiting a floating market and taking in the sights, but the latest shopping malls will also be on the agenda.
Last Christmas, we visited the brandnew, luxurious Siam Paragon mall. There were luxury cars spread over the building, fancy fountains, lots of interesting Thai brands, but many of the international stores were still under construction. Not that I cared much, since for taxation reasons, major brand products are not expected to be much cheaper in Bangkok than in other Asian capitals. Since then though, yet another shopping center has opened next door, run by the Central chain, until now noted for its rather old-fashioned department stores - think Rebar or Far Eastern department stores near Hsimenting ten years ago.
Bangkok is still good value for money for its many local brands, which are getting more and more international exposure. Taiwan's most recent issue of CommonWealth magazine features a piece about Thai design which mentions Propaganda, a must-see for visitors to Thailand, even though it's not about clothing but about knick-knacks and trinkets. Then there is Bangkok's design center, which you'll find at the top of the Emporium shopping mall near Phrom Pong Skytrain station.
Anyway, I might not make it to the new Sogo before you do, but Bangkok is a fun alternative.


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