Wednesday, January 08, 2014


The thing about waking early- you wake up with the rest of the city, get out to the canals and waterways and check out the morning bustle. Need to get out there in the sun and space. This wasn't a tour of the floating markets. I wanted to see more of the klongs of Thonburi and Phadung Krung Kasem in Old Bangkok. Also, when Bangkok shuts down (they're serious) next Monday, water taxis will be in huge demand. I hope there's no overcrowding. While convenient, these water taxis, aren't the safest mode of transport. They don't carry enough lifejackets or buoys aboard for passengers. Anyway.

It was an impromptu arrangement on a hired private sampan. Not a long-tail or fast vessel. Motorized, but tiny, operated by a mother and child team. We also had the fortune of sitting down to a homecooked lunch with the boat operator at their home. Yes, we asked if that could be arranged, and paid for their trouble. But they didn't have to agree or even be hospitable. We're grateful they did. Cross-legged, we sat around the low table, part-taking in their usual mid-day meal. They generously shared their time and conversation. These are the experiences that totally enrich a trip.

The klongs were polluted and clogged with floating garbage, but slightly cleaner than the Chao Phraya. The low-lying suburbs were so susceptible to flooding, as evidenced by the national crisis in 2011. However, that morning, I saw locals pull out prawns and rather large sea bass from the waters. Okaayy. There might still be a crocodile or two as well.

I was merrily sitting port side. Then I spotted something on the other side of the river that could be right out of a NatGeo documentary. You've no idea how fast I leapt across to starboard to catch this one pathetic shot. And then silently bemoaned the speed of the trusty Leica DL6. It's no match for the M9 which I didn't lug out on this trip. The boat couldn't stop for photo-taking. That would be silly. Thrilled that I got a half-decent shot, in spite of terrible lack of details when blown up.

The hilarious bit- the man, who was sitting starboard, staring right in the direction of the scene, didn't even see anything as the boat went by. He just had a shock seeing me pounce at the railing with a camera. He was all like, "What what what what what!?" Tried explaining to him, but eventually I had to upload the photo and zoom in order to reveal what he had missed.

Predator and prey. Potentially. No, the egret didn't get eaten.

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