Sunday the 22nd. 7:05 am. Waiting at the front of the guest house eating snacks from home and 7-11 for breakfast so we don't miss our minibus to the floating market. Tired. Jet lag still working on us!
Minibus came a few minutes early and we got in. Driver picked up the other tour people and we left about 7:35 for the hour and a half drive.
It's always interesting to see the countryside as we drive. You can see the huge disparity between lifestyles, from the very wealthy to the poorest of the poor. You also see the spirit houses on pretty much every property. Those are to give the spirits a place to live so they will be happy. Many people offer sacrifices on the spirit house base.
We arrived at the pier near the floating market. We then found out that the tour included getting us to this pier, and a long tail boat ride in two hours, but otherwise we were welcome to rent paddle boats (row boats) to take us through the floating market, or just walk along beside the floating market. We decided to go ahead and rent the boat, so we went by row boat through the floating market. It was neat because we were down between the boats, but it was intimidating because we were down between the boats. :). Especially when the long tail boats went by. Mary Ann bought some little purses for some friends.
It was a bit overwhelming with trying to watch and see everything and also refuse their pleas for "shopping." We learned very quickly that you can't point at anything, or you are immediately taken to "shopping" for that item. "How much you pay?" And it is hard to convince them that you are really "just looking."
We saw many beautiful items and amazing workmanship. There were offers of pictures with huge snakes and "monkeys," which were actually slow loris. We did those later, after we got off the paddle boat, for our creature girl, Mary Ann, and Sarah was brave enough to be in the snake with Mary Ann. You'll have to see the picture to know what I mean by "in the snake!"
Once the paddle boat dropped us off, we went walking through the various shops. It's amazing how much lower prices were once we were on land. At least half or less, for the same items. We found a few items of clothing at other shops on the other side of the khlong (canal). Jon was looking for traditional Thai type clothing I can wear for JFA Now, and he found some very nice ones.
Even going in an out of the bathroom area was an interesting experience! It had one of those turnstile gate things inside a cage. Once you put in your 5 baht coin, it would let you go through. It was very narrow and we could hardly fit through with our backpacks! Paying to use the bathroom in public places is normal here, by the way. Western style toilets though.
We sat on the pier waiting for the long tail boat, watching people and boats go by. This was the time when the snake picture was taken.
Once the long tail boat came, we got in for our tour of the nearby village. It was very interesting to see the homes of the people. One lady was doing laundry from the dock by her house. It was fun except that Chris and I were in the back and kept getting water spray, and Luke and Sarah were in the front behind the upswept bow, so had a bit limited vision.
Suddenly the long tail boat pulled up to a dock behind a house. We weren't sure what they were doing, but then they told us to get out. This was a new place, so we wandered around a bit before finding our way to the front parking lot, where our driver and several others were waiting. It was a beautiful resort and we would love to go back there to spend more time by the water, if we could afford it and if we could figure out how! The only "selling point" that some of us really don't like is the "world famous cobra show" that they host there.
We got in the van, more crowded now, with 16 plus driver instead of 12 plus driver, and headed back to Bangkok. Once we got back they dropped us at Khao Sarn Road (very popular and well-known tourist and backpacker area in Bangkok). We were ready to find lunch!
We ate at an open-air restaurant just down the street and alley from our guest house. Then we returned to the guest house and had a bit of down time before heading across town to Chattuchak and the night market.
We went to try to find the right taxis. Since we are in a tourist area, it is actually easy to find taxis. Just finding the right one is a bit of a challenge. They want to overcharge and they refuse to use the meter, or, because of the time of day, they don't want to go to where we want to go.
We finally found some that would take us for only what ended up being about $1.50 more than we should have paid using the meter, so not too bad.
Jon, James, Lilyann, and Mary Ann arrived at Chattuchak before the rest of us even though we started out in the front taxi. We met Pastor Karlo and his wife Ayen (from the Philippines, he is the church pastor where we went Sabbath).
We wandered through the market, seeing a wide variety of everything imaginable for sale. The last building we went in had all sorts of creatures including fish, birds, rabbits, dogs, cats. There was one place where I noticed a NO PHOTO sign. Looking around, we realized this was probably because of the health and wellbeing of the creatures, or possibly because there are endangered creatures or the sale of them is illegal for some reason. It was sad to see all the caged creatures, although amazing to see them up close like that outside a zoo.
We then headed across a "queen's park" to the night market. The first thing we saw was a whole group of people with prairie dogs on leash! We said we have definitely seen everything now! It was a beautiful park, with some of the many bushes cut in the shape of elephants, and a pond. James had to get out the Mavic and fly it. He was very happy to finally get to do that!
Mary Ann and Lilyann did an interview with Sarah and Luke because they figured they're going to be on the show so they should officially introduce them.
Once we got to the night market, we passed many food and clothing places, and went to the food court to try some Thai food there. One of the food places had tire swings for one side of the table and bar stools for the other. That's a new thought for us!
At the food court we got a few fruit shakes for those interested, and saw an amazing way to serve watermelon shake. If you ever want to make it at home, use the little tiny watermelons and serve the shake in that, with some watermelon balls in the side of the shake for decoration. It was very pretty!
We got green papaya salad (som tam) for the girls to try. It wasn't quite fully authentic because we asked for no fish sauce and for mild. :) We had talked about trying it on the Christmas special when we shot with the girls, so felt it was a must for the show. Mary Ann liked it better than Lilyann, but we all liked it better with the peanuts. Then they got another one with cabbage in it too, and some of us liked that one better than the plain one. Then we had some that wanted to try Pad Thai fried in omelet. (Here in Thailand, if you want the yoke of your egg cooked, you ask for omelet, which is scrambled egg.) So we tried that too.
James wanted to get fried noodles, but the shop they normally get them at had moved. And some of us wanted to go back to go to bed. We all went together to find taxis, but none of them wanted to take us, so we walked back across the market and across the park to a main road and there found a taxi for the first half of the group. The others took a tuk tuk, we found out, so Sarah and Luke are still waiting for their tuk tuk ride this trip, but the MissionTrek crew has shot one so far. A tuk tuk is a 3-wheeled motorcycle-type vehicle, loud, open, and fun!
They were a bit concerned, because we had taken so much longer than they had to arrive back at the hotel, but they left a bit after us. So we got a phone call from Jon asking, "where are you?" I recognized where we were, and knew with normal traffic and good lights we were only about 5 minutes away. Took a little longer than that because of waiting for lights, but we were reunited and ready for bed! We had walked almost 6 miles and almost 14000 steps according to my phone!