Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bangkok's Back Alleys

A favorite of the whole family was a nifty little canal tour we took through the back alleys of Bangkok.  Once known as the Venice of the East, Bangkok, until about 50 years ago, was navigated nearly strictly by boats through narrow canals.  These now are mostly covered by skyscrapers and highways but on the edges of town, accessed by the skytrain which became our preferred mode of transportation,.  We spent a day on the canals in a long-tail boat with an overbearing and rigid guide named Nui.  Redding got some strange case of itching so we had to stop at a water market for some potion to make it bearable for him.  His whole body itched and he was uncomfortable for the whole morning.  Nui had no sympathy.  In spite of her telling us what we could eat, when we could eat it, what we had to look at, how close we had to stand to her, etc. we loved this day.

The motor on the boat is about as long as the boat itself and looks like some prehistoric animal with a skinny metal tail cutting through the lotus flowers and aquatic plants that have to be cleared from the canals daily. We zipped from temple to temple and from market to riverside restaurant in one of these cool, canvas covered boats.  The highlight: Seeing an old woman bathing in the (rather filthy) water with a white paper cap on, while a six-foot foot monitor lizard swam by.  Nui assured me these were not crocodiles and we're not man eating but still I had no desire to take a dip myself.  We stopped for cold coffee drinks at a wooden house where the boys fed dog food pellets to a massive pile of writhing catfish below in the river.  They loved that Steven Tyler from Aerosmith had been there too, and took a picture of a picture of him with one of the coffee bar hostesses.  Who knew they knew Steven Tyler??

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