Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Floating Market And Ancient City Of Ayutthaya, Thailand.....

Everyone that visits Bangkok makes their way to one of the famous floating markets.  Our tour took us to the original floating market called Damnoen Saduak, about 100 kilometers outside of Bangkok. Locals that live along the rivers would load up their wooden boats with produce, food, jewelry, textiles and other things to sell to others that lived nearby. While some locals do still shop this way nowadays the floating markets are mostly geared toward getting money from tourists.

Video of our visit to the Floating Market

Despite watching countless videos on the markets we still were in awe of the spectacle that lie before us when we arrived. Once we were dropped off we climbed down into a wooden row boat piloted by an elderly woman wearing a pointy hat and mittens.  Her mission was to paddle us through the grid-lock of boats in the market.  More like bumper boats than a shopping experience, our morning at the floating market was surely something never to be forgotten. Along the way we had oars and tails from other boats poking us which reminded us to keep our arms and legs tucked in as much as possible.

Passing Other Boats Going Through The Floating Market

A Vendor Selling Produce

Smiling Tourists

Man Posing With A Cobra

A Vendor Cooking

Brushing Up Against The Merchandise

A Boy Drinking Coconut Water Directly From The Coconut
In Panama This Was Called, "Pipa de Fria," or Cold Coconut

After our little cruise we were free to walk through the market seeing it from a different perspective. Items for sale included a little bit of everything such as: clothing, spices, handicrafts, food, fans, paintings and other wall décor and anything else one could imagine. Most of the vendors were laid back and not at all pushy which made it nice to explore.

Young Asian Girls Going Through The Market Putting On Makeup

We Had To Try The Coconut Ice Cream Topped With
 Colored Sweet Sticky Rice and Peanuts Served In A Hollowed Out Coconut

Vendor Cutting Up Mangoes For A Common Thai Dessert
Mangoes And Sticky Rice

Clyde Paid To Hold This Tiny Monkey

I Was Called Into The Picture

Lady Washing The Dirty Dishes From Restaurant

While floating through the market we noticed food vendors washing the dishes that they had served on in a rather unsanitary manner.  With buckets of water from who knows where, the vendors were pouring water over the dirty dishes, utensils and chop sticks to clean them before reusing them.  Although I found this disgusting our tour DID include lunch and once we were finished shopping we were handed a menu by one of our guides. Now to realize that we'd be eating off dishes washed in that manner was a bit unnerving but with no other choice we ate the food.  Clyde motioned to the waiter for napkins and promptly we were brought a round bamboo container with a roll of toilet paper inside.  Even though this is something we've come to accept here it's still quite humorous yet makes perfectly good sense when you think about it. Does it not? I ordered pork with pepper and garlic that came served over white rice and was actually rather tasty, although lacking in any vegetables.  Clyde ordered chicken with sprouts and veggies which he seemed to enjoy also.

Next we boarded some slightly larger long-tailed boats with big motors for a trip down the canals of the river. There we could see how the locals lived along the river.  Some homes were a bit more lavish while others were run down, rustic and poor looking.

Home Along The River

Every Home Has A Shrine To Buddha Where They Do Their
 Daily Prayers And Leave Offerings Of Food And Drinks

We Were Literally Sitting On The Floor Of The Boat, Becoming One
With The Water
And Getting Splashed Too

Traditional Thai Homes Made Of Wood And Sit Up On Stilts
By Raising The Home They Are Protected From Wild Animals

Back in the mini van we headed to our next stop, the ancient city of Ayutthaya.  According to the story after a smallpox outbreak in the nearby city of Kampucha, people fled the city looking for a new place to call home. They travelled for days until they came to a great river with an island on the other side.  King U Thong set up his kingdom called Ayutthaya which became the major city of the central plains of Thailand from 1350 to 1767 C.E. The Burmese attacked the city in 1767 and captured many of its inhabitants as slaves, leaving behinds the ruins. In 1991 UNESCO designated Ayutthaya a World Heritage Site claiming the area had much value to humanity.

First Stop on Tour

The Yellow-Orange Drape Is For Good Luck
In Many Temples The Fabric Is On Display For People To Sign Then Later Draped
Around Buddha For Good Luck.  And Yes We Have Signed A Few.

Close Up Of Buddha's Face
And His Feet

Ancient City Of Ayutthaya
(pronounced ay-a-too-yah) with emphasis on the yah

Second Stop on Tour

Third Stop on Tour

This Buddha Head Broke Off A Nearby Statue, Ended Up Near The Tree
And The Roots Grew Around It.  How Cool!

Why So Many Temples? Buddhist Temples Called Wats Are Everywhere.
Our Guide Told Us When Someone Dies The Body Is Carried From
The Home To The Wat For A Ceremony And Cremation. So The More Wats The Less Distance To
Carry The Bodies. The Spirit Is Free To Return And Reincarnated Into Another Person Or Animal, Depending On How Good The Person Lived His Life. Sometimes Even Kings Come Back As Animals Because They Wronged People, According To Buddhist Beliefs As Told By Our Guide.

 The Ancient City Is HUGE And Goes On....And On
We Could Have Spent Days Exploring It

Our tour guide took us to three different spots in the ancient city and after some history allowed us time to explore on our own. We always enjoy learning about and walking through the history and culture of ancient civilizations. Adding to the touristy vide of the area was the offering of elephant rides nearby.

Elephant Rides For 200 bhat ($6 per person)

Asians Use Elephants As Work Animals Just Like A Westerner
Might Use A Mule, Donkey Or Horse

Because our apartment is not in the city center we had to make our way to a meeting point early in the day to meet with our tour bus. Before sunrise we were waiting in front of Wat Yannawa, a boat shaped temple and monastery.  Getting a peek into the Buddhist culture we sat and watched as the monks began their day. Monks are only allowed to eat before noon and traditionally local people bring food and drink as offerings to the monks. The barefoot monks came out with large cooking pots underneath their robes accepting the food from the local woman and taking it to another location.  Buddhists are all about karma and doing good deeds for other people so by providing food to the monks these local women are making merit. According to our guide they believe that the good deeds done during this life benefit them in their next life when their souls are reincarnated.

Monks Heading Out For The Day While Ladies Give Them Food

One of our favorite things about travel is getting a peek into the local culture, customs and rituals of every day life abroad.  Today we had a glimpse of what it's like to be a monk, live in an ancient civilization and shop along the river by boat as we explore Thailand.....along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE

1 comment:

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