Rock Stars on the Floating Market

This shot pretty much sums up how the boys are received wherever we go in Thailand, so far. (Note adoring fans in background.) We could be in the greatest tourist attraction, yet our boys still seem to steal the show. For Nate, its a lot of fun. He "wai"'s like a native, and his manners cause people to grin widely and laugh. For Philip, the attention is disconcerting. He shies away and still doesn't know how to handle the stares and smiles, my sweet little man.

Saturday we hired a taxi down the street to take us to the biggest floating market near Bangkok. Still about two hours away, it was a pleasant ride. When we got to the pier we all took a little ten-minute walk to get a feel for the place. The drivers all push heavily for you to take a boat tour, and it seemed a little too involved for us-we are people who like to skip the tour and venture off on our own.

Besides, we wanted to make sure we got a taste of something cooking on these floating vendors before some tour guide whisked us away (to a cheesy vendor where the guide gets tipped for bringing in the gullible tourists, you know the deal.)
We flagged over this lady to grab a cheap bowl of rice and some fried chicken for a snack. Behind us on the pier was your typical maze of stalls with tourist trinkets and harem pants (the kind you see on all the backpackers that fool you into thinking they just stepped off a trek in Nepal.) Obviously, in order to see more, we were going to have to get ourselves a boat.

So that's what we did.

It turned out the boat tour operators were not a hard sell after all. We listened to the shpiel and then kindly asked them to skip the monkey place, the elephant ride, and the coconut farm. Since we're here for two more years, we would have plenty of time to do all of them, but with a toddler its wisest to tackle these adventures in small bites!

We hopped in a fantastic long tail boat, and the boys were thrilled to have it all to ourselves! And we took off through the canals. We passed the prettiest homes along the waterway, all of them up on stilts. After spending two months in the city, it was nice to see more traditional Thai homes.

When we got closer to the market, we did get a little bit of the push to buy from a few particular trinket vendors. After picking up just a few small souvenirs, we realized the prices were better at Chatuchak for the same exact things. So we pressed on.

This one stall was a true gem, however. We've often picked up sidewalk art on our adventures because they are really affordable, and fun to frame and hang as a reminder of where we have been. This was the floating market equivalent, so we chatted up with the artist and bought a few pieces to take home. I really want to keep them for ourselves, but come Christmas we may have to part with them and share them as gifts, they were so pretty. We shall see. I should be the good person and gift them, but they really caught my eye!

The floating market was crushed with tourists and vendors by the time we got there. As hectic as it was, it was still relaxing for us as we could sit back in our vessel, pick up a snack or two, sip from a coconut, and bask in the aromas of fish or sausage be roasted.

Our oarsman was a great guy, and kept smiling the whole way, even when we found ourselves in a floating traffic jam. The only stress we encountered was keeping the boys' fingers inside the boat, or from having to juggle pomelo slices while taking pictures!

Outside the market, a lot of people still transport their goods on the waterway. Fruits and food were being sold door to door. Coconuts were carried to the market, not only for the tourists because every house we passed had mounds of coconut hulls on the ground outside.

The only stop we had requested was to the Wat, so onward we went. Philip loved speeding down the canals, and insisted on riding in the very front the whole time.

I especially enjoy going to the Wats, as they rely a great deal on the contributions from tourism. So they are welcoming to outsiders, children, and anyone curious as long as you are respectful. They are also very beautiful, usually in colors and gold.

We bought offering bowls to contribute when we got there, and each of the boys had a chance to drop coins in the offering bowls. They rang the bells of course. Philip and I stepped up the the Buddha statue and lit incense out of respect.

On the way out we could buy pellets to feed the fish, so the boys were entertained by that too. Again, you gotta love Buddhist reasoning-buy some fish food, hey its good for the fish, and brings good luck for you! Sure, why not? Its hard to argue with that.

We had a fun ride back to the pier, and decided to head back home. Both the boys were exhausted, and it was getting near that four-PM-downpour-time. Turns out this trip was a winner with the kids, and we will most definitely come back.

But, again, we'll skip the monkeys.


mom said...

what a fabulous adventure

jen said...

the first pic of philip w/ the people taking his pic is so cute. i love the expression on his face!

Sara said...

I really wanted to see the floating market but we were only in Bangkok for two and a half days. It looks amazing. I love seeing the joy on your boys' faces too!

cassandra said...

aunt heather this is cassandra,and alexandra love the pictures .