I'm back in Bangkok. I have been here for three days, today being the beginning of day four. The jet lag continues, although I was prepared for it this time. It helps that there is no real schedule for me here, so it doesn't matter if I am awake or asleep during the daylight hours. (Although I do think M is getting sick of being awakened by restless me in the wee morning hours.)
My beloved camera was lost on the first leg of my journey, and I am still mourning it. It is only a thing, so one must not get to distraught. It is my fault that it is gone, since I put it in the overhead bin and forgot about it until I had left the airplane and walked to the international terminal in San Francisco. When I discovered my error, I RAN all the way back to the gate, dodging the swarms of fellow travelers the whole way. Arriving breathless and sweating to my arrival gate, the gate agent got on the plane but could not find it. She even got back on the plane and looked a second time, after seeing how my face crumpled when she returned empty handed. Many tears were shed, but life goes on. I am now relying on M's tiny pocket camera to capture images of my Bangkok visit. It will suffice, but now you know why my photos will not be of the usual quality.
M has discovered a new way to get around the city, by way of canal boats on the Klong. Not as expensive as a taxi or the subway, and you don't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic. Being on the water is a wee bit cooler than tromping around on foot. We still do plenty of walking in the steamy air, of course. I found that the most abundant graffiti seems to be adorning walls and buildings near the Klong Saen Saeb. Riding the canal boats makes for an authentic Thai experience.
Each canal boat arrives in a cloud of exhaust, adorned with two agile boat workers who hop off the boat as it approaches the dock. They wind their heavy ropes around a pole to hold it in place only long enough for the passengers to climb on or off. It is a short stop, and climb is the operative word here. The boat doesn't always stay obediently alongside the dock, and sometimes there is a significant gap between boat and dock. The sight of the murky, brownish green water is enough to keep one from being careless about entering or leaving the river boat. More than once, I saw passengers on the dock reaching out an arm to help their fellow female travelers disembark. Once the passengers have nimbly stepped on or off the boat, the heavy rope is uncoiled from the dock post, and the boat is once more on its way. It is a quick exchange, and the boats move fast. The boat workers climb along the edge of the boat, taking money and handing out tickets. One arm is always looped over the rope that runs along the top edge of the boat. I found myself wondering if they ever fall.
I hope you stick with me, my dear blog followers, since I will be sharing my experience of Bangkok for the next couple of weeks. As ever, you keep me writing, blog readers. Thanks.