Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bangkok Post: Day 5

Thailand's famous floating market was on the agenda today alongwith the wax museum. Since the market starts winding up after 10 am, it was advised by mama to leave home by 7 am so as to reach the floating market by 8:30 - 9 am. Our driver was on time & had brought us local food for a morning snack. It consisted of pieces of chicken, pork, pork liver, chicken liver barbequed & arranged on a long toothpick along with a pile of sticky rice in cylindrical shape (imagine how we eat frankie). After having this new street food taste, we drove off.

The Floating Market

Reaching the floating market, we booked a boat. Tourists are taken around the market in small wooden boats in narrow water lanes, fillled with vendors selling fruits, street food, souveniers, hats, drinks, wooden crafts, etc. The vendors are of 2 types: those who sell moving about in their boats & others who have shops on stilts on both sides of the lanes. Normally, food-items are sold on boats & others in shops. Buyers (ie. tourists) have to go about in boats to buy their items. It was a market I had never seen before anywhere. But, the water lanes reminded me of Kerala's backwaters where I had enjoyed in a 'vallam' (the wooden boat with oars is called vallam in Kerala). We started off & soon there were boats everywhere around us. Here, most of the vegetable sellers are women, unlike our 'bhaiyyas'. We bought a few fruits there after mama did a 'taklong' (taklong=deal, in this case bargain) with the seller. I shot the entire video of the water lanes & the market. It would now always remain in my 'memory'.

Don Wai Talat

For afternoon lunch, we came to Don Wai Talat, another 'sight & smell' market (talat=market). But here, there were no non-vegetarian items on sale. Different types of fruits, flowers & vegetables adorned the stalls & there was quite a crowd in the market. Vendors were calling out to sell their eatables. But surprisingly, there was no shouting out aloud & no chaos. The women didn't shout & not one of them had a harsh voice. The entire decorum of the market was full of discipline. Even the buyers didn't push the person in front & patiently waited for that person to move in the crowd. I need not elaborate how the scenario is in India!

Another quality of Thai people apart from discipline & cultured behaviour, that you can't help notice is their hard-working attitude. An example of this was when I asked a florist for a photo of the flowers in her tray. She was having her food & she nodded in affirmative. I was about to click when she kept aside her food & arranged the flower bunches in the tray so that I could have a good photo. I hadn't expected this at all & thanked her for that. She smiled & resumed with her chopsticks. Taking the photo I thought, "could I have expected this in my own country?". The quality of hard-work is inherent in every Thai citizen. They never shirk work & they believe in 'work is worship' in true sense of the term.

Human Imagery Museum

In the afternoon, we headed to the 'Human Imagery Museum' where wax structures of real-life people are exhibited (like Madamme Tussad's museum). The exhibits included people from all walks of Thai culture & life; the monks, king, poets, musicians, children, fairy tale characters, villagers, farmers, etc. It also housed world's eminent personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln. The statues are intricately made with detailed attention to even the most negligible attribute. The museum is simply marvelous & is one of 'must-sees' in Thailand.

We returned home by late afternoon & made a dash for the swimming pool in the evening. The pool situated on the 6th floor of mama's building, offers a good view of the Chaophraya river. The pool has sections where some could laze out in bubbling water, others could swim or just enjoy a view of the river! It made my evening & it was after many years that I swam. It felt refreshingly good & was all ready for a pizza waiting for me back home.

No comments: