Thursday, February 2, 2012

Over The River

Since Bangkok has so many canals and waterways, transportation by long-tail boat is a good alternative to the streets clogged with cars, trucks, tuk-tuks and motorbikes. Following our excursion to the floating market, we took a long-tail boat up the Mae Klong River. 

The river and its system of canals feature many waterfront homes (large and small) and a number of restaurants. 

We were also fortunate to see this somewhat rare water monitor lizard perched on a tree beside the canal.

Though floods covered much of the city late last year, the water has now receded and life has returned to normal. For the most part, the only evidence of the devastation is high-water marks on the buildings and debris caught in the trees. Unfortunately, though, there are also abandoned homes and buildings whose owners lacked the resources to repair them.

We also visited a couple of temples. One, Wat Bang Kung, features a small chapel completely enclosed within the roots of a banyan tree. You can see the tree roots on the inside walls of the chapel as well as ourside.


That temple site is also home to a number of life-size figures engaged in martial arts combat. Our guide explained that in the early days the monks in this area were responsible for schooling the warriors in the martial arts

Here in Thailand it's "winter" or the dry season, so things aren't as green as you might expect. There are a couple of exceptions, though. One is the King Rama II Memorial Park and Museum. The grounds are beautiful, with orchids growing on the trees and bouganvillea in many colors.  There are also fanciful topiary figures like this rabbit family.

After lunch in a quaint riverside restaurant, we made our way home. However, since we earlier showed you salt harvesting scenes from Cambodia, I wanted you to see the next step in the process. After the water evaporates, the salt is carefullly raked into small piles to dry. After a couple of weeks, I'm told it is transferred to larger piles until it is dry enough to be bagged and sold.

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