Driver, paddle faster. I've got shopping to do!

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 14, 2010

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, September 5, 2010

My "Southern Thailand Sojourn" tour started with a bit of a road trip- to Domnoensaduak Market, the famous floating market in Bangkok. The  market was a massive expanse of Thai vendors selling clothing, food, souvenirs... everything. There were even specific boats you could ride in and eat lunch while it was made in front of you (on the tiny boat). My new tour friends and I shared a boat trip through the narrow canals and "shopping areas". Tourists were abundant; because of the large number of boats in the canals, we had to be careful to not lose a finger as the boats rammed into each other in the narrow passageways.

Even though it was early in the morning, it was really hot (after two and a half months, the massive amounts of sweat were nothing new). We spent a somewhat restful day sipping fresh coconut milk out of a coconut (what else would it be?) and doing some shopping/wandering around. After a bit of haggling with the locals for some cheapy souvenirs, it was already time for the market to shut down, and for us to head back to town.

That night we headed to Bangkok's train station to board our sleeper train for that evening. I somehow didn't realize we were spending the night in a train (again!), so I wasn't exactly pleased. While we were waiting in the station, we got to see something that never happens in our country: Twice a day, Thailand's national anthem is played publicly. Everyone, and I mean everyone, drops what they're doing to stand and face a billboard or photo of the Thai king. (These billboards and giant photos are everywhere in Thailand). A few minutes later, when the anthem is over, everyone goes back to their routine, as if nothing had happened. It was a good thing our tour guide warned us about this event, otherwise we'd have been pretty confused with the whole thing.

I loaded up on mosquito repellent at the station, then braced myself for the night on a cramped train.
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