A boat ride with monks

23 Jan

'Next time, I'm choosing your food', my boyfriend says, staring down at the plastic plate in front of him. Pork in sweet coconut sauce with shrimp, according to the English translation. I see no shrimp nor pork, but rather two halves of a tiny crab – resembling those we would look for on the beach as children – and some grey mush with bits of white onion. In front of me, on the other hand, there's a bowl of nicely smelling green chicken curry. His food. He's simply a bigger person and backpacker than me.

Ok, back to earlier today. After a morning swim, we took a taxi to the Old Town where we ticked off the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Golden Buddha. Three hours of an incredibly warm and sweaty walk around glittering gold and colour-mosaic buildings.

Starving at this point, we followed Rough Guide's advice to head down to The Royal Cremation Ground: 'This area was originally used for the cremation of kings, queens and important princes. It is the place in Bangkok to eat charcoal-grilled squid and have your fortune told by the mor duu (seeing doctors)'. Yes, those two sentences are next to eachother in the book. Obviously we had to go.

Well, we walked until our feet were black and I realised that I still don't eat street food. (Spending a day outside in this city is like smoking a few packs of cigarettes. I'll happily eat street food in a village, but not meat that has spent hours outside in Bangkok's 30-something degrees and pollution.)

Since we for some reason believed the riverside would be lined with restaurants, we headed there instead only to find an explosion of food stalls. The smell of barbecued seafood, curries and grilled meat in all thinkable varieties made the area pleasingly sweet, though also warm and sticky as we tried to make our way through the narrow corridors in a shuffling queue of people. Still optimistic about finding a riverside restaurant in the area, we followed the people in front until we stumbled upon a small ferry. 'Want to take it?' 'Do you know where it goes?'. I didnt, so we took it.

Three baht each – equivalent of next to nothing – and we were ferried across the river along with two young monks.

On the other side awaited even more food stalls. Still not eating street food, we made it up from the riverside to a more quiet road of only three lanes that we could easily cross.

And this brings us back to the restaurant – the only place with food served inside we had seen for the past two hours. While I still can't deal with street food, I believe at this point I can make up for that by choosing boldly in the menu. Well. Looking down at they grey mush, I realised that when in doubt always go for the green curry.

Food aside, I think it's safe to say that few tourists go to the area where we were. At least that's how I interpreted the finger our taxi driver swirled around by his temple when we finally hailed one from the street.

But you know what? I loved that boat ride. While where we ended was not ideal, I love the possibility of simply on a whim decide to go onboard a boat to see where you may end up. I'm no longer wearing a watch, I don't have deadlines and I do not have an office to be at five days a week. No over and over, repeat and return. Today I took a random boat trip with two monks and my boyfriend. Who would not enjoy such a day?

And here's some photos of selected street food. One day, that pig's ear will be mine..

I'll have a coconut though! This photo is for Trude!


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One Response to “A boat ride with monks”

  1. Danielle 26. Jan, 2013 at 00:04 #

    Hello Kari and Dominic!
    Found your blog BY CHANCE! Nice to be able to follow you during your trip and to see the photos you take. Great idea to travel to some exotic places whilst you can. BON VOYAGE!
    Mum and Dad

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