3.58 am and the eyes sprang open in the dark half an hour ago. I don’t seem to be able to beat that 3.00 am start. However, I added time on the other end of the day and managed a 9.00 pm bedtime for the first time in the tour and this morning I feel normal again.
I was reflecting on what we have achieved so far it has been more than I anticipated, a whirl of color, events and creativity. The men in the group have joined in with a determined degree of enthusiasm and good heartedly supported us all in our passion for which we thank them.
On Tuesday, we visited the floating market. I guess you could say it’s on the ‘to do’ list for Bangkok. Almost every traveller has a visit to a floating market on their first trip to Bangkok. The day began with thunderstorms and a heavy blanket of grey but it lifted to allow us a perfect day to sight see.
A floating market is a market where goods are sold from boats. Originating in times and places where water transport played an important role in daily life. Its the old traditional way of selling vegetables, fruits, etc. from a small boat, however, floating markets operating today mainly serve as tourist attractions.
It was cool at least, the air cooled by being on the water and the boat sped down the narrow klongs allowing us to view the houses the clung precariously to the banks.
After half an hour or so we came across the market, sure it’s based on tourism, but its an experience and one that has a degree of cultural realism that allows for superb photos.
It was busy, crowded and full of color and life. A fabulous way to spend a morning and to capture a glimpse of the past. I bought fried bananas, right off the boat and I must admit, the thought of a cooking fire on one of those small wooden boats commanded by an elderly lady sitting on her haunches is more than I can imagine.
The next stop was the fishing village tour where we boarded another boat. We headed out into the Gulf of Thailand to see the cockle farms. The water is shallow and punctuated by small stilt buildings that house the owners of that portion of the ocean.
Many foreign tourists don’t choose the Thai Fishing Village Tour, and that the majority of the tourists that visit the fishing village are local Thai tourists who come to plant mangrove saplings. The experience is seeing the fishing operation in the Gulf of Thailand and having a delicious seafood feast in a fisherman’s bamboo stilt house in the Gulf.
On the way back we sailed up into the mangrove forest. Here we were able to feed a troupe of monkeys that swam up to the boat.
It took a while to find the monkeys, the tide was high but finally they came and dined on the offered bananas.
The day finished with the fitting of the garments we had made and packing for our next adventure. I managed to pack all of my shoes which remained in the case in Bangkok. So of course I had to buy more last night at the market.
Yesterday we boarded a plane and flew to Chiang Mai.
The following images were taken at the wholesale hill tribe market. You’ve all seen beautiful embroideries made into re purposed garments or bags, every culture does it, however, I want to buy the re-purposing textiles. And so we did. Set in a tin shed of immense proportions one is transported into a cultural wonderland of color and texture. It’s unbeleivably hot under the tin roof and I would love to know just how the mounds of clothing finds its way into the hands of the dealers. To be honest, most of them are just families who sell to manufacturers. They live in the small stores, babies, children and older folk.
This is new fabric printed and prepared for sale for hmong clothing.
These are older pieces, patched, worn and deliciously colorful. There is a long and sad history as to the origin of the garment and I will cover that tomorrow.
The embroideries are new, but still stunning ly beautiful.
I need to go back and buy more of the indigo resist dyed pieces.
We guided the ladies through their purchases, and Keith became the chief bargainer.
So today it’s a cooking class and other adventures in color and design.