Behind the scenes: Floating market

Posted: 15 November, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
Behind the scenes. Take a longtail boat threw the canals to see the everyday life in the klonghs.

Behind the scenes. Take a longtail boat threw the canals to see the everyday life in the klonghs.

Chapter 5: Today I was a early bird after a short nights sleep. Pretty spirited. Started the day with a nice breakfast (toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, pad thai, cucumber, tomato, onion, melon, ananas) at abreakneck speed. Pick up time 07.20 – I thought.

When the clock turned 07.40 a tiny lady, “Call me Jim”, appeared and got a jack up from a young woman in a asian family on holiday. She said it was not ok to wait for an hour. The Lady “Call me Jim” took my voucher and we got seated in the minivan. I immediately came to speak to an older american couple and we got along fine when the car stopped again – even though there where no more seats.

– Are you a teacher with a student groupe, the woman asked me in well articulated and great american.

– No. I am on my own.

It was the 7th visit to Bangkok for the american couple. So you really like it then, I stated.

– No! (The answere was quick and surprisingly honest.)

– Why do you go here on holiday then? I asked.

The american woman from Denver, US, told that their son was married and lived in Bangkok. They went to see them and their grandchildren, she said beaming extra when she mentioned the toddlers. She admit that the thought it was to hot i Bangkok and I was surpised again because I thought it was just lovely, not to hot nor to rainy or humid.

Now the lady “Call me Jim” interrupted our conversation just when I started to dream about being invited to a family supper… “Call me Jim” yelled” ticket” with a voice that run threw marrow and bone to the asian family sitting behind me in the minibus. Then she gave me back mine and instructed the driver to turn around.

– You are not coming with us, the tiny lady “Call me Jim” said to me without a smile.

Back at the hotel. The clock where close to 08.00. The gays in the reception tried to calm me down.

– Trafic jam. Not coming. Trafic jam…

– Not coming!?? 

– Not coming – yet, the man corrected himself in nasal and nervous thaienglish when he had called the number on my voucher on my demand.

A new minibus drove up to the hotel entré. The correct bus? I asked with a grim smile. Instead of the lady “Call me Jim” a young man looking like a thai brat jumped out of the car. He came in smiling broadly with whiteninged teeths without a trace of apology, backslick, big black sunshades, bling bling watch and a slim fit white t-shirt.

I was a boring minibus. I sat tired and tacit with a book while the brat drove as he tried to run up with the tick tack-bling on his wrist. (Or maybe he just was suicidal?). Of course there where no saftey belts and more than once the car transformed into an amphibian vehical ploughing its way threw the flooded passages.

Be hungry when you visit the Floating Market outside Bangkok. The things to buy is good snacks or bad souvenirs.
Be hungry when you visit the Floating Market outside Bangkok. The things to buy is good snacks or bad souvenirs.

I took quiet a while to get to the Floating market in Damnoen Saduak, 100 kilometer southwest of Bangkok. Even though the bling guy speeded and had a finger with the Gods (bought a flower maskot at a womans stall along the road). In the guidebook it says that you should get there early. We was not. We got there at the same time as the rest of the crowd and got stuck in a tourist trap. I paid extra for going with a boat that sometimes hardely moved and when it did passed other boats with veggies or really boring souvenirs. One hour and a short walk was quiet enough. If I had had my own canoe it would have been easy to take iconic photos of merchants in blue collor blouse and muchroom formed hats.

Everyday life along the canals in Damnoen Saduak outside Bangkok.

Everyday life along the canals in Damnoen Saduak outside Bangkok.

The bonus I did not knew of was the included boat trip along the klonghs. A big longtail boat with horrible smelly diesel motor took my groupe behind the scenes and pass the red sooken wooden houses on poles – only rarely a more modern villa.

I felt ashame when I fascinated documented the families everyday life threw the lins of my new big camera. An old man watching us and waving, a mother washing clothes in the brown river and her daughter resting flat on the lower flooded veranda in a par of swimmingtrunks. A dog swimming happily in the unhealthy looking water. Everywhere pots and plants and here and there a miniatyre temple for praying outside the houses a long the canal.

It was like a saga in an old and wellred book with marked and wet corners. At the same time I almost could see James Bond coming up behind us chasing an enemy on a speedboat. Like nothing I had seen before, a mix of the posh Venice in a Los Angeles and The Amazon. Lush but full of misery in my western eyes.

So what I have we learnt? Go to the buzzing Floating market early. Be prepared to pay a lot to go private if you are a single traveller or pay less and come late with the rest of the crowd.

Miss T

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