It's inevitable. You're nearing the end of your time in a situation--graduating from school, ending a relationship, moving away--and you want to drink every last drop before it is done, because once it's done, it's done. Do you want to remember that last party, that last kiss, that last landmark, or do you want to stay cocooned in your room?
Such was my choice when on Tuesday morning, scheduled for another "must-see Thailand" daytrip, I woke with a wicked bout of food poisoning (writer's note: this is a "tell, don't show" situation). And it was an easy decision, hard as hell to fulfill--but it helps to have medication and friends to lean on (sometimes literally).
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
100 km outside of Bangkok and with all the trappings of a tourist trap: stall after stall of counterfeit merch, overpriced shirts with tuktuks on them, and purveyors of pad thai. The boats are cool, but they could benefit from a traffic signal.
It was even suggested that we rent a boat and paddle to our next destinations. I declined, though I imagine the pics of my projectile vomiting into the canal would've been colorful.
Mae Klong Railway Folding Umbrella Market
This one was high on my list, and I'm glad I got to see it. The concept baffles: a market set up literally on top of an active railway. Six times a day the train comes, and vendors fold up their umbrellas, move their inventory off the tracks, and let the train pass. Then it's back to business.
I've seen videos and articles calling it "The World's Most Daaaaangerous Market!!!" and yes, I'm sure if you're not paying attention or lingering for that selfie too long you can get squashed, but what I was struck by was how placid it all seemed. The vendors are used to this, they have a system, they make it work just fine.
Plus I worked in retail, and remember some near-misses with forklifts, pallet jacks, climbing up into topstock, etc.
Wat Bang Khae Noi and Wat Bang Kung
Early on the One Way Ticket, one of my friends asked "don't you get tired of all the temples? Don't they look the same?" And, even months later, the answer remains "NO!"
Okay, yes, a lot of them do look the same. But there's also a lot of differentiation among the wats, including these two, both built during the Ayutthaya period. Wat Bang Khae Noi is notable for its intricate wood carvings, made of different panels that were then joined together (no gaps, amazingly).
While Wat Bang Khae Noi does amazing things with wood, Wat Bang Kung looks like it was built into living wood itself.
It also served as a base for the Siamese army and a site of battle in their wars with the Burmese. This is commemorated with a set of statues:
Amazing(ly random) Thailand
Thailand has much history, great wonders, tremendous resources. And in my travels I've found they aren't necessarily interested in organizing these things in a clear way. So it continued on this day, when we ran across a zoo/military artifact museum-ish place/restaurant.
The adventure wrapped with an hour-long BTS ride and 20-minute walk through cold drizzle. Yes, I felt like crap the whole day, and yes, my happiest moment was climbing into bed that night and sleeping off the misery. But I'm glad I toughed it out and chose to make more memories.
I can always sleep later.