Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Another Day at Amphawa Floating Market
Last year Pae and I visited Amphawa Floating Market with friends. This year, on the heals of our Hua Hin trip, we did the Floating Market again but with family.It was a totally different experience from our first time there. With friends, we walked the four main sois of the market, grabbed some food, took pictures and were quickly back on the road home. This year, one of the first things we did was rent a boat after dark and did about a 45 minute loop around the small island, through the river and small canals.Boat tours go day and night and prices are about 60 baht per person (less than 2 dollars U.S.) but a whole boat can be rented for 600 baht, basically giving larger parties a couple free seats. Most of the boats are driven from the rear with the driver steering and controlling the outboard motor and giving random facts about the rivers, canals and klongs that wind through the Venice-like area. Okay, it's far from Venice, but it is basically a little town on the canals mostly accessible by chauffeured water taxi!The area is also known for it's lightning bugs (fire flies). They nest in the trees along the river and do their little blinky thing in the evenings. It had been raining the past few days, which is abnormal for the "winter" here, and the fire flies weren't as numerous as usual.The thing that stood out to me as darkness set in was the quiet of the canals, the absolutely crystal clear sky and number and magnitude of the stars above. It was amazing! I haven't seen that many stars in years and probably the only time I can remember seeing more was driving from Salt Lake City to Reno in the middle of the night once...(AMAZING, stars from horizon to horizon).We stayed the night in a nearby home stay rental and came back to the market before heading back to Bangkok...we ate and rented another boat! This time to see the same river and canals during the daytime.Last year I posted mostly pictures of the floating market itself. This year I took a lot of food pictures! Our boat driver said there were over 1000 stores, restaurants, sales booths, etc. in the market as a whole! So, this is just a small selection. From snacks like grilled bananas, Popsicles and deep fried pork skins...To rice cakes, solid sugar candies, a tapioca meets gummy worm thirst quencher, Thai style vegetarian salads and Isaan grilled pork...To seasoned whole mini crabs, fish pastry rolls, fish balls, wieners and some kind of meat formed and deep fried... The place is definitely Thai. Definitely a place to go for an awesome sampling of local foods, snacks, and even some stuff from days past, a boat ride during the day or night, and outside of the main market area, observing life along the river...Definitely not an easy life, but seeing it from a foreigner's shoes certainly was eye opening and a true cultural experience even after living here for almost three years...Life is happening all around us every day...sometimes we just shut certain things out...I'm glad that during this trip with the family I was able to take off the blinders for a glimpse of something special.