Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thailand Day 2 - Bangkok

The Salt Flats

We started off leaving the hotel today for a day of touring.  Of course no day can start without giving Grandpa a big smooch first!
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We saw some roadside stands selling salt, about $1 us per bag.
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Here's a big pile, before it's bagged.
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The seawater is pumped about 10km, then it dries in the sun for about 30 days in winter, 20 days in summer.
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Raking the salt, preparing it for harvesting.
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Walking across the salt ponds, balanced precariously on some boards laying across the canals.
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Hot, dirty work!  The men work out in the hot sun all day.  It's about 85 degrees - I can't imagine what it might be like in the summertime!
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Coconut Demonstrations

Next, we were off to a coconut demonstration.  The boys were shown how to get to the top of a coconut tree using a simple pole ladder, so they both had to have a go.
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The fires were stoked to boil down parts of the coconut palm to make butter and coconut sugar.  Yum!
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Boiling down the coconut sugar mixture...
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Peter and Jack had a try at scraping meat out of a coconut.  Peter did more eating than scraping!
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Jack ate some too.  Hey Jack - you missed your mouth!
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Linda and Peter doing some shopping for finished products!
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Got to keep Grandpa well fed on our journey!
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Bangkok Floating Market

Next, it was off to the Bangkok Floating market by speedboat.  We worked our way through a network of floating canals to the market.Thailand 085

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The boats use truck engines, and a prop sticks out far from the boat to avoid hitting the shallow bottom.
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A view down one of the canal waterways...
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This young girl was swimming in the canal.  After we saw some of the wildlife in Thailand, we now think she was crazy! (see below!)
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One of the speedboats such as we were riding roared by...
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People live all along the canals; here's a sample of the housing available.
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You can conveniently shop right from your boat if you wish!
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And here's the giant floating market, with wares on land and boat both!  Plenty of shopping to do here!
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Peter and Jack at the floating market, enjoying the warmth and the sun!
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Randy had bought some post cards from the local kids, and he tried to sell the cards back to this kid as a joke.  The kid was definitely not interested in buying back souvenirs!
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The Snake Show

For those of you squeamish about snakes, this section will cure you!  We saw a snake show that would make your heart stop!  It almost did mine!  First, Peter and Jack had a nice hug from a boa constrictor.
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Next, we saw this man dodge the bite of a cobra - scary!  Cobras are native to Thailand, along with many other types of snakes.  So the girl that was swimming in the canal (above) was extra brave!
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A demonstration of milking the venom from the cobra...
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The cobra was brought around to the audience for us to touch.  Touching a cobra is supposed to bring good luck.
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I didn't hear what type of snake this was, but it was very aggressive.  The performer had to dodge very quickly to avoid being bitten.  The snake below is in mid-strike as he dodges out of the way.
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Here's the business end of a python.
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They held a net around his mouth so you can see his fangs. 
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The Rose and Orchid Garden

Now, on to something tamer - we ate lunch at a gorgeous rose and orchid garden; the kids played in one of the sprinklers and had a great time getting wet in the heat of the day.
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Then Jack used Grandpa as his own personal towel to dry himself off.

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Some of the beautiful flowers in the garden...
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Peter with Grandma and Grandpa.
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The Elephant Farm

We also visited the elephant farm at the gardens where we were able to get up-close and personal with them!  Here's Sophie putting banana in one of their trunks.
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Peter and Jack fed this female some bananas as they were waiting in line to ride one.
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... and here they are up on the elephant!
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Linda, Sophie and Sue also got a chance to ride.
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The elephants performed some stunts such as walking over their keepers...
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... and letting loose with a torrent of pee.
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Here's a closeup of the elephant pee in case the last one wasn't close enough for you.  It appears this elephant is well hydrated:
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Peter and Jack were duly impressed with the volume of pee produced, and also the size of the elephant penis!

Sophie found a baby water buffalo to make friends with.
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We also saw a variety show that included, among other things, Thai dancing.  Here are two women demonstrating...
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Finally, Sophie playing with her toy after going all day.  What a ball of energy!  She did sleep briefly in the car, however.
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Yes, we did all of these things above in ONE DAY.  We will all sleep well tonight!


Bob & Amy said...

Wow - Julia was very impressed with the reptiles & Andrew with the elephant excretions... Thanks for all the details!! Loving it!!

Anonymous said...

I've done most of these things too, I also believe in one day. Great trip it was, I really reccomend it.