Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Umbrella girl

In Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River is a thriving entity in its own right. All day long, barges, ferries and pleasure craft chug along this river. Crossing the river by ferry is like a ride on the dodgems at a carnival - no rules, plenty of fun. Large multi-hull transports shepherded by a tug seem to have right of way because they aren't terribly manouvrable. Frail-looking long-tail boats, propelled by impossibly powerful and loud motors, dart through any available opening and dock in a shower of spray and frantic revving of their engines, usually disgorging a bunch of farang tourists.

Off the main part of the river, there is a series of klongs, or canals. Much narrower than the river, these canals are still very busy. There are floating markets and all sorts of food and drink stalls, both floating and land based. One tourist attraction consists of feeding a huge school of enormous catfish with bread bought from the side of the canal. The exchange of money and fish food takes place by using a plastic bucket that is passed to your boat via a specially rigged flying fox.

The klongs also contain a series of locks which enable boats to change elevation, and when you reach one of these there is inevitably a queue of boats waiting for the lock to be operated. It was while waiting in the queue that I saw this girl on an adjoining long-tail boat, resting in the shade of an ornately-decorated umbrella probably just bought from one of the floating souvenir vendors. Bangkok is very hot and humid, and the expression on this girl's face reflected the way we were all feeling as the boats queued in the sun waiting for the lock to open.

EXIF: Canon A620; ISO 200; 1/250 sec; f4.


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