As usual, I will quote the text
and then comment on it. First off, the I don't know why Lynn commented on Narita, since the travelogue has almost nothing to do with Narita, except mentioning why Lynn isn't there.Between Bangkok and Narita, Japan I had a regular ticket. Kate and Lane were travelling standby and decided to head out on the first plane that they could get seats. This left me in Bangkok for an extra day so I went on a cooking tour of the country.
This is very curious. Lynn has a regular ticket and yet in the last travelogue she talked about how she and Kate and Lane couldn’t get to Japan from Phuket because of the Chinese New Year. At that time, they were trying to go to Tokyo. They ended up flying to Bangkok. I thought that was odd, because a good number of the plane flights to Tokyo changed planes in Bangkok, and there are a lot of planes that travel between Bangkok and Tokyo.
Now Lynn says that she has a regular ticket to Narita and not Tokyo. Expedia tells me that there are many flights from Bangkok to Narita, so this should not be a "connection in Tokyo to get to Narita" kind of thing. My guess is their original plan was to go from Phuket to Bangkok, stay a few days in Bangkok and then go to Japan. The reason they could go to Bangkok in spite of Chinese New Year is because they already had regular tickets to do that. The altered plan in Phuket must have been to deviate from their regular ticket plans for Narita and go to Tokyo, Japan 2 days earlier.
Now, Kate and Lane continue on with this plan leaving Lynn behind in Bangkok. It is very telling that Kate and Lane would abandon Lynn at this point. Reading this travelogue carefully, it seems like Lynn prefers to spend her day visiting street vendors and not buying anything, or taking pre-planned tours, while staying at Holiday Inn kind of places (her favorite hotel of the bunch). Katie and Lane seem to like the beach resorts and staying at places that have spa treatments and doing things like snorkeling or attending boxing matches. Lynn had strong complaints about the beaches (ugly people there), snorkeling (too many people in the water and rude people on the boat), and the boxing matches (putting her to sleep). I would like to think that passive Lynn might not express these complaints out loud to Katie and Lane, however Lynn’s departure from the boxing match after a single round makes it seem like Lynn may not be all that quiet about it.
Personally, I would not abandon my 60-year-old mother in Bangkok, no matter how much she complained; but clearly Katie and Lane have a different opinion.A rough and portly man came to the hotel; he was jovial and seemed to enjoy his job. I was one of 5 - all of us English speaking. We travelled to yet another enormous food market and after doing a tour, were left to explore for 20 minutes on our own. The vendors were very kind about letting us take photos and we snapped away at delicacies such as live frogs (enormous ones!) eels, snakes, mountain rats, dried sting ray, shark fins and other gourmet delights. I would have liked to have tried a lot of stuff, but there was no time. I bought some jellied candies which were tasty and very sweet and we pressed on.
There are number of Bangkok food markets. Possibly this is the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, as described in this website.
Although the mountain rat does not sound that appetizing, this website
indicates that it tastes better than chicken.The country here is much like Holland - I'm told. Many canals, once used for travel and commerce, criss cross the plains giving life to such a variety of things: rice, lotus, herbs, cactus, fruits, and so on thrive. In the country, life is much as it is in any farming area, except for the herds of skinny cattle blocking the road from time to time.
agrees there are canals in Thailand. I was unable to find any website comparing Holland canals to Thailand canals.At an historic temple a Chinese water raft was still in use and we hired the elderly boatman to take us down the canal to a Chinese settlement - perhaps 1000 years old. This was one of the first open markets and the Chinese inhabitants are descendents of the original settlers in the area. The boat was a flat barge covered with a bow-shaped canopy. It was cool inside. We had to be very careful getting in as it was very awkwardly balanced - at least for us! The boatman was in his 70's. A proud, handsome man and rail thin, he wore a traditional bamboo hat and was barefoot. As the first one in the boat, I sat looking up at him. He would not meet my gaze and I wondered what he thought of the "big noses" he had to ferry in a boat that belonged to a much more meaningful past.
It looks like Lynn is taking this tour
. The lady in the website picture looks a lot like the lady in Lynn’s picture of her cooking. Judging from Lynn’s description, it sounds like the boatman was hired, however the tour description sounds like this was regular part of the paid tour. This is the description:08.00 AM
- Pick up from Various hotel in Bangkok.08.30 AM
- Depart Bangkok to Nakron Pathom province. - Enjoy a scenic drive to the beautiful greenbelt of Bangkok. - Passing rice fields, lotus ponds and much more. Then visit fresh much to learn about Thai ingredients for Thai cooking and you will enjoy The Thai local life with "Siamese Smile"10.00 AM
- Driving to coconut garden to see the processing of palm sugar made from coconut sap10.30 AM
- Cruising along the Nakron Chaisri river by traditional sculling boat. Then walk pass the old "Thai-Chinese village"11.45 AM
- Come to the highlight of the tour and enjoy your first hand experience of cooking Thai food at the garden home. - Lunch will be severed.13.30 PM
- After lunch, visit the wickerwork village to see people making the products from Water hyacinth.14.00 PM
- Visit orchid farm to see many kinds of grow orchid and the amazing way to grow orchid.14.30 PM
- Depart from orchid farm to Bangkok.16.00 PM
- Arrive hotels in Bangkok.His hands and feet had been altered by time to conform to the workings of the boat. His hands were broad and powerful, his feet bare and bent in an awkward position - perhaps from steering; perhaps he was born that way. I wanted to photograph them but didn't want to be rude. People in Thailand believe strongly in Karma and I wondered about his and mine.
Perhaps Lynn should see this website
for more about Karma. As to what Karma has to do with taking photographs, I have no idea. This website
talks about Thailand etiquette and says:Taking Photos: Just as you wouldn't like a stranger walking up to you and snapping your photo, be respectful and ask first before doing the same in Thailand especially with Monks. Note that some rural hill-tribe people believe that a photograph will 'capture' their soul and will object to being photographed.
Perhaps this is what Lynn is talking about with her Karma --- the soul-stealing kind of Karma.He dropped us off at the old Chinese settlement about a mile down the canal. After the others were safely off the raft, I put my hand on his shoulder, discreetly gave him a large tip, and thanked him for his time. He looked at me then. I didn't know if the was grateful or sad... but I hope he appreciated the gesture.
Back to Thailand etiquette:The Range of Tips: It is important to remember that the majority of employees in the hospitality and service industries in Thailand earn a very basic wage. Therefore any gratuities received truly do go long way and will serve to recognise and reward enthusiastic service.
I am sure the man appreciated the tip. Of course, I don't know what Lynn considers to be a "large tip".The Chinese market was a great piece of history. Almost abandoned as a place of commerce, it is still home to many families. We walked down the deserted passageway of stalls. A couple of vendors sold household goods and the barber was busy. Both he and his client smiled and waved pleasantly as we wandered by. It was as if they were part of a strange museum display. Again, I wondered what they thought of US. Tourism is Thailand’s biggest industry, it seems. Strange to have your private life be a part of a "tour". With all the young people leaving to go to school and work in the cities, these places are disappearing fast.
says the village on this tour is the Baan Lumphraya. Here are the details:Baan Lumphya is situated in Nakorn Pathom Province, about one hour (54 km) west of Bangkok, a well known fruit land in Thailand . The surrounding countryside is renowned for its delicious pomelos, fragrant white rice and thriving wine industry.
On the bank of Nakorn Chisri River, Baan Lumphaya has been settled peacefully about 170 years, where the Thai - Chinese traditional lifestyle still remains even today.
170 years is not quite as old as the 1000 years Lynn guessed. It sounds like the place is doing very well from the website description. As for tourism being Thailand’s biggest industry, that’s not really true. This website
says:The economy of Thailand is an emerging economy which is heavily export-dependent, with exports accounting for more than two thirds of gross domestic product (GDP).
It’s nice to know that in spite of seeing all this agriculture around her, Lynn Johnston still thinks the economy of Thailand depends on people like her.On the walk back down the canal, a lady and her daughter were prepared to receive us in their lovely, private home. We took off our shoes, accepted fresh coconuts with straws in them, and cold cloths for our faces. It was such a relief to be cool! Truly, I have rarely experienced such heat and it made me wonder how they could have fought for so long in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
I think this is the part of the tour described as:Come to the highlight of the tour and enjoy your first hand experience of cooking Thai food at the garden home.
The reference to the Vietnam War is an odd one. If Thailanders are used to the heat in their own country, then what difference would the heat make to them in fighting? According to this website
, the Thai Army saw action in South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971 and also in Laos between 1964 and 1972. This is assuming that Lynn is not talking about the more recent fighting between Thailand and Cambodia
back in 2008. I doubt she would be aware of anything that recent.In an outdoor cooking area, we had an impromptu cooking class. This dear lady taught us how to prepare coconut milk soup, pad Thai, and sweet pickle salad. Then she ushered us into her grand old home to enjoy the meal in her dining room. I think this was one of the highlights of my trip. Around the table we random travelers were now able to greet each other. The American couple are sign language teachers and are here in Thailand for a conference. The two ladies were mom and daughter, from Tasmania, travelling for fun. And then, there was me. This was my first all English-speaking tour and it's so obvious that the inability to communicate with people is a sad barrier. No wonder there are so many misunderstandings between countries. Language, religion, and politics tear us apart... and yet, we really are all the same. Perhaps THIS is what the real future of the internet is: a way to help us understand each other.
Impromptu? Impromptu? Hey, Lynn. When you pay for a cooking tour, it’s not impromptu. Why are you trying to make this seem like this is a part of Thai-Chinese village hospitality, when you have paid good money for it to happen? Finally Lynn talks to her fellow tourists because they all speak English, and this prompts Lynn to make statements how language tears us apart, even though we are all the same…as long as we all speak English. The future of the internet is to help us understand each other. Goodness, Lynn. The power of the internet is that I can do internet searches and figure out what the heck you are doing.An orchid farm on the way home was interesting. Orchids are beautiful parasites! They can be attached to trees by tying them to the trunk until the roots grow into the bark. There were many varieties in this massive, fabric-covered operation. They are started by placing tiny cuttings into long, clear, square bottles in which a jelly-like growing compound provides a base and nourishment. The bottles are set out on long racks and are tended to until the baby orchids are big enough to roll into tiny slices of coconut husk. These are then placed in trays and put into the greenhouse where fans and sprayers keep everything moist and fresh. The initial growth process takes a few months. The tiny individual plants are monitored and kept sterile. Flowering doesn't occur for about 2 years so, the plants we casually buy in the grocery store have quite a history.
Lynn is right about this. Orchids are a big deal in Thailand
and it is a part of the tour. However, by going to the orchid farm, Lynn has not mentioned going to the wickerwork village. I wonder why she left that out of her tour description.It took hours to get back to the hotel. Bangkok in rush hour is the worst of places to be. If you think it's slow in (pick a North American city), Bangkok gets a prize! It took almost as much time to get back to the hotel as it did to get to the outskirts of the city. Next time, I'll take the train!
No Lynn. Transportation is provided as a part of the tour, but thanks for playing. Judging from the tour information, this is a tour you can pick up as a part of staying at the Holiday Inn Silom, which answers the question from last time about which Holiday Inn in Bangkok Lynn is staying at.Tomorrow: the first leg home.
If Lynn does put out another one of these tomorrow, I will have to delay my posting about it, since I will be at a Boy Scout camporee this evening and tomorrow. See you after I get back.