Bangkok - Canal Living Nov. 25, 2003

Each morning, we were all wide-awake by 6am due to jet lag. I got us all out of bed by 7am on the second day, since it felt so silly to continue lying there. After checking out the local's flower market and fruit market by the river, we hired one of those beautiful long boats with flowers hanging off it.

The driver took us to the narrow waterways of old town: Thonburi. For the next hour, we were mesmerized by those lives lived on water. They float passed us from both sides of the riverbank. Gui said it was amazing to know this was in the center of a busy and bustling metropolitan. The vegetations were dense and wild. They seemed to threaten to over take all these human touches that had invaded its territory. Each house had a small boat docked at its front or the side, like cars or bicycles on our driveways. The gardens were basically water gardens. Their front door was inches away from the river. I often wondered what would happen when the river rose? Wouldn't everything in the house be flooded? Or was it designed so that water was part of the house anyway?

The breeze on water was cool. We were quiet; occasionally we raised our cameras to snap a photo. The boat owner was very observant, whenever he sensed any of us was about to raise our camera; he slowed down and steadied the boat till we put down our "weapons". I didn't know how to tell him in Thai that what I really wanted was not just to slow down but to stay with those quiet lives and to be part of it...

Sarah just told me that "Bangkok used to be called Venice of the East because of all the canals. In the past, BKK had several thousand. Now there are only about 200 left since most were covered over to make way for roads. " Ah, the romance with cars! Thus we tourists came for the canals and avoided the roads...
14_touringThonburi 15_thonburi_river_dwelling
16_thonburi_livingOnWater house
houseboat1 houseboat2
lives pets
vendor 01_longboatoperator