Memories of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River
In Bangkok, apart from there being trains, undergrounds, tuktuks, motorbike taxis, buses and regular taxis, there are also boat taxis (longtails) and boat buses. Bangkok River Boats are a great way to get from one part of the city to another!
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, our son 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 to the front, taking advantage of the kiddies to get some seats, 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 show 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 shirt tied around his head and the other with it hanging from his shorts. 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.
Big Kiddo is falling asleep and I notice 5 kids on the boat already asleep,sweating and slipping from their parents´ laps. At the front of the boat where the people crowd to get ready to get off there is 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. Small Kiddo likes that trip too.