Today Brad decided he wanted to take a water taxi down a khlong (translation: canal, although mine would be “sewage river”). As is typical of Brad, he didn’t have a concrete plan. His plan-on-the-run was to walk down to the khlong and simply catch a water taxi. He had researched that there were different express taxis for tourists with different colored flags. He proceeded to expound this information to a young couple from India whose plan only surpassed Brad’s in that they knew they wanted to see the temples. (Later research revealed that these express taxis only operate on the Chao Praya River by the hotels and temples, not on the canal we were on. Oops.)
Since there was no planned destination, any direction would do. The first taxi that came by, heading in the direction of the temples and the Grand Palace, was crammed with people, sitting, standing, leaning. The taxi pauses for a moment, you grab hold of a rope, and hop on, trying to find any possible available space. We let that taxi pass. A few minutes later a taxi with available seats and no standers arrived, going in the opposite direction. We hopped on that one. The ticket lady simply stands on a beam on the outside of the boat. Since her hands were busy counting money and giving tickets, one can assume she wasn’t holding on to anything. Now, it was obvious to me at the time that if we wanted to go back to where we came from, we were going to have to get on one of those crammed taxis. But that was a problem for later.
We enjoyed our ride for a little while, admiring the baskets of flowers that were purposefully planted along the khlong. The enjoyment lasted only a moment as the smell of raw sewage was so overwhelming that after several glasses of wine last night, my stomach was rebelling. As we were headed in the opposite direction of the temples, it soon became apparent that we weren’t going to find anything in this direction, so we hopped off at the next pier. Now…that problem I mentioned earlier. Being just a little bit claustrophobic, I was already stressing. As predicted, the next boat that arrived was crammed with people, but I was ready to hop on. As I approached the boat, Brad said, “I’m not standing”, and then our adventure truly began.
We left the pier and began to walk down a long, narrow alleyway strewn with litter, broken glass, and bits of building and roof tiles. I don’t know if there are dangerous areas in Bangkok, but I was not feeling safe. (I didn’t take any pictures, as I walked with purpose – to get out of there.) When we finally reached the end of the alleyway, it appeared we had reached a dead end, but a quick glance to the right revealed a typical, market-lined street which led to a busy road.
Having no idea where we were, we Googled it. Bad news. We were 1 hour, 20 minutes from home on foot, 40 minutes by cab. We thought we’d walk for awhile. My good friend, The Weather Channel, told me it was 91F, “feels like 100”, full-on sun and humidity. Many people in Thailand simply perspire, looking all glisten-y. It’s safe to say I sweat, looking more like a drowned rat. (I often hear, “you’ll get used to the heat”. I don’t think so.)
We finally found a train station which would eventually lead to the BTS (skytrain). We waited 20 minutes for a train. Upon arrival at the BTS , I said, “toward Bearing?” Brad, “Nope, Mo Chit is toward downtown.” Even though Brad has been here longer than me, I have ridden the BTS more often, but whatever. We get on the train. “Oops, we’re going in the wrong direction.” %$^&
Three hours after we left the apartment, we arrived back home. Lesson learned. I don’t think water taxis are going to be my mode of transportation anytime soon.