Booksellers are part of the Parisian landscape and are the last vestige of street commerce, including food, which once made the streets of the French capital so lively. Luckily, it is still flourishing in Bangkok, as elsewhere in Thailand. Booksellers in Parisare concentrated on the right bank of the river Seine, from the Marie bridge to the quai du Louvre, as well as on the left bank, from the quai de la Tournelle to the quai Voltaire, near the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.
The 900 “book boxes” of these 200 vendors are said to contain nearly 300,000 old and second-hand books, not to mention the very large number of magazines, stamps and collector’s cards. The presence of the booksellers contributes to the charm of the banks of the Seine and creates a real animation, a cultural attraction, a literary and historical heritage. The “wagon green” color of the boxes is also meant to blend harmoniously with that of the metro, the Wallace fountains and the Morris columns.
If the booksellers of Paris have inspired other capitals such as Ottawa, Beijing or Tokyo, this is not the case of Bangkok. But another curiosity adorns the streets of the Thai capital. “Friday night, Saturday, any night or rainy day”, the smell of dried squid permeates the streets of Bangkok ! And it’s a real ritual : the squid is first passed several times through a hand crank press to tenderize it. It comes out as thin as paper. The flattened piece of squid is then grilled on a small charcoal stove and served with a spicy sauce. Sellers of dried squid and multicolored sausages and skewers also contribute, in their own way, to the charm of the streets and markets of the capital.
Kita KLONGWATHANAKITH, Tle B