CHIANG MAI, Thailand—The Chiang Mai night bazaar is a good place to buy a light-brown Chang Beer tank top for $6. There are also numerous silk robes for sale in the same price range, in case you’re looking for something more modest.
If you fancy neither of these items, then you can choose from the following: fake Rolex watches, ostrich-leather wallets (I have two), knock-off Tiffany jewelry, statues of the Buddha, cowboy hats, necklaces, flower-shaped lampshades, boxing shorts, or if you want to drop out of reality for a few weeks, the entire series of “The Sopranos.”
I walked through hundreds of these stands last night, buying nothing, until eventually I stumbled onto a cart stocked with an armory of knives, swords, throwing stars and machetes run by a very small man who drives a hard bargain and rarely tells the truth.
I had already been burned by buying counterfeit knives once on the Thailand-Burma border, where I bought a fake Dark Ops Stratofighter Stileto for $15. For this reason, I wasn’t particularly interested in buying any pocket knives, especially after the merchant selling them told me that a Browning pocket knife, which had USA clearly written on it, was produced in a village 10 km away.