Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chao Phraya River Boat from Thewet to Saphan Taksin


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45 MINUTES ON A RIVER BOAT


In Bangkok, apart from there being trains, undergrounds, tuktuks, motorbike taxis, buses and regular taxis, there are also boat taxis (longtail) and boat buses.  In Thewet Pier, like in all piers along the Chao Phraya river, there are three boarding platforms; one to go upriver, the other downriver and the last one to cross over. But in this pier specifically there´s a few stalls that sell bags of all sizes full of fish pellets and the ends of loaves of bread. 

The surface of the water is in constant silver flutter of fish fighting with each other to get to the food. While we wait for the boat to arrive and take us to the Saphan Taksin pier where it connects with the BTS Skytrain, Astor feeds the fish form a medium bag of bread. On the other platform, the crossing over one, there is a Thai couple emptying out a bag of easily 20 kilos of pellets. I think it has something to do with merit making, the whole feeding the fish frenzy, watching how they go crazy over so much food, there are some huge ones!!!

Once in the boat, we go all the way yo the front, taking advantage of the kiddies to get some seats *wink*, Big Kiddo sits next to the plastic ¨window¨ and like always wants to stand up, freaking everyone out because he can fall over, everyone grabs him to get him to settle down. 

Behind him sat an orange robed monk with a backpack full of laminated posters that he starts to us, "I am a teacher" he tells me as if trying to not scare me and gives us little ziploc bags with orange candies that look like medicine. 

Laminated poster no. 1 The Ilumination of Buddha, the monk says "If you are naughthy" and Astor hides in my arm. No. 2 Illustration of people with diseases, broken limbs and full of maggots (gross), "If you are naughty" and Big Kiddo hides in my arm again. No. 3 A family half body half skeleton...Big Kiddo hides. 

No´s 4, 5 and 6 dogs, cats and babies in hologram print and No.7, "If you are naughty" a real photograph of a child opened up on an autopsy table!! My husband, the ladies sitting next to us and me all cringe and stare in horror, thankfully Big Kiddo was looking at the river. What kind of monk is that?! Then he asks to take a photo of Astor with his red camera and gets off the boat many piers before us.

Halfway to our destination, two guys get on the boat,  they look like Limeños (capital of Peru), wearing no shirts, one with his tied around his head and the other with it hanging from his short. Don´t they read up about the country they are going to visit? Its offensive, its not their home beach! They get off at the pier that is by the Wat Pho and Grand Palace. 

Getting to our stop, Big Kiddo is falling asleep and I notice 5 kids on the boat already asleep and sweating and slipping from their parents´ laps. At the front of the boat where the people crowd to get ready to get off there´s a foreign woman with a sleeping baby on her arm, a toddler grabbing her hand and a stroller standing by her. I thought the man next to her was her husband, but no, she was alone! The woman was all by herself with the two kids, what an inspiration! She asked the person closest to her to help her with the stroller and to hold her boys hand as they got off. We all get off and make our way to the skytrain. And that is a little trip on the Chao Phraya river boat for only 15 baht per person, 50 cents of a dollar. Antigona likes that trip too.






45 MINUTOS EN EL RIVER BOAT 

En Bangkok aparte de haber trenes, subtes, tuktuks (mototaxis) taxis normales, buses, y taxis motos tambien hay barcos taxis (estos se llaman longtail) y barcos colectivos. En el puerto Tewet, como en todos los puertos del rio Chao Praya hay tres embarcaderos, para los barcos colectivos que van en una direccion, para los que van en la otra y para los que cruzan. Pero particularmente en este puerto hay puestos donde venden bolsas de potos de pan de molde y pellets de comida para peces.


 La superficie del agua alrededor del embarcadero esta en constante movimiento flash de plateado de todos los peces aleteando queriendo comer y robarle la comida al otro. Mientras esperamos el barco colectivo que nos regresa a la parada de skytrain en Saphan Taksin, Astor les da de comer a los peces de una bolsa pequeña de panes, pero en el embarcadero de los barcos que cruzan hay una parejita vaciando una bolsa de facil 20 kilos de pellets. Creo que tiene algo que ver con hacer meritos, eso de darle de comer a los peces que se ponen locasos con tanta comida, hay unos gordasos!!!!

Una vez en el barco, nos vamos para adelante donde nos aprovechamos de los enanos para que nos den asientos *guiño* Astor se sienta al lado de la "ventana" de plastico y como siempre, se quiere parar y toda la gente a su alrededor entra en panico y lo bajan a su asiento, yo incluida. Detras de el,  habia un monje naranja con una mochila llena de laminas que le empieza a enseñar a Astor, "I am a teacher" me decia a mi como para que no me asuste y nos da tres bolsitas ziploc con caramelitos de naranja que parecen pastillas.  Lamina numero 1, la iluminacion de buda, el monje dice "if you are naughty" y Astor se esconde en mi brazo. Lamina numero 2, Unas personas en ilustracion chancadas por camiones y reventando de gusanos (?) "If you are naughty" y Astor se esconde en mi brazo. Lamina numero 3, una familia mita cuerpo mita calavera...."if you are naughty"...Astor se esconde en mi brazo. Laminas 4, 5 y 6 perros, gatos y bebes en impresion de holograma. y Lamina numero 7, "if you are naughty" una foto de un niño en plena autopsia!!!! yo, y gonzalo horrorisados y Astor menos mal no lo vio!!! que tal monje ese!!!! luego el monje le toma una foto a astor con su celular rojo y se baja en una parada varias antes que la nuestra.


A medio camino se suben dos patas con pinta de Limeños sin polo, uno con el polo amarrado en la cabeza y el otro con el polo colgando del short. Acaso no leen un poco del pais que van a visitar? que falta de respeto, no es punta hermosa! Ellos se bajan en la parada del Wat Pho.


Ya llegando a nuestra parada Astor casi se esta quedando dormido y veo 5 niños en el barco dormidos y sudados resbalandose de las piernas y los brazos de sus padres. En la parte del barco donde se junta la gente preparandose para bajar hay una extranjera con una bebe dormida cargada y un niño chiquito de la mano y un coche. yo pense, ese señor sera su marido. no era!!! estaba sola la señora con los dos hijos en el barco, le pidio a un señor que estaba cerca que la ayude con el coche. Que ejemplo. yo con las justas llego a la estacion con los dos enanos sola. Y bueno ese es un viaje en barco colectivo por el rio Chao Phraya que te cruza de un lado de la ciudad al otro por solo 15 baht por persona, 50 centavos de dolar. A Antigona tambien le gusta ese paseito.