Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bangkok's Chinatown and gold buying

by Saigon Charlie
Well, I am back in Bangkok and after a few short visits to "Ricks" or as the locals call it the "Tavern" on Soi 4, I made my way over to Bangkok's Chinatown which as it turned out was no easy matter.

It seems since we have had a few changes in who and what is 'boss', the taxi drivers have once again taken this as license to switch off their meters and tell you what they will charge to take you somewhere. I got in and out of 5 cabs ending up taking the Skytrain to National Stadium where I did manage to find a cab to take me the remainder of the distance for 100 Baht. Once again, negotiated before we began with no meter running.

Anyway. I finally got out near the Tesco/Lotus store in Chaintown and headed into the first gold shop I saw. What transpired after that was unbelievable!

There must have been 50 people at the semi circular counter and I had to stand patiently behind customers before I could even get to the counter. After that, after some time, a Thai gentlemen (all the employees were men...) finally came to help me.

I asked to see men's 3 Baht gold chains and he selected a half dozen for me. I liked one of the designs and asked if he anything else like it which he did. I liked it and we settled on a price of 14,300 Baht per Baht. A Thai 3 Baht chain has nearly 46 grams of gold and is 96.5 % gold. Also interesting to note they post each day what they buy the gold back at which on this day was 14,038 Baht. Gold is money and gold shops are banks....just like they use to be.

As I started to sort out my Euro and Baht to pay for the chain, I couldn't help but smile at the huge stacks of Thai bank notes everywhere around me that were being counted out by the men behind the counters. It seemed everyone was buying gold which honestly shocked me as I thought I was going to be the only customer here with gold "so high".

Yes, I am a "Gold Bug" and it seems the dozens of Thais around me were as well. There is not a single Thai who does not know what the price of gold is each day but I wonder how long it will take for the rest of the world to "get it".

Gold is real money and if anyone thinks the crap they call dollar is worth anything out here in the "real world" they are delusional..........which is what they are counting on!

Smiling in Bangkok!

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