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!
We saw some roadside stands selling salt, about $1 us per bag.
Here's a big pile, before it's bagged.
The seawater is pumped about 10km, then it dries in the sun for about 30 days in winter, 20 days in summer.
Raking the salt, preparing it for harvesting.
Walking across the salt ponds, balanced precariously on some boards laying across the canals.
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!
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.
The fires were stoked to boil down parts of the coconut palm to make butter and coconut sugar. Yum!
Boiling down the coconut sugar mixture...
Peter and Jack had a try at scraping meat out of a coconut. Peter did more eating than scraping!
Jack ate some too. Hey Jack - you missed your mouth!
Linda and Peter doing some shopping for finished products!
Got to keep Grandpa well fed on our journey!
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.
The boats use truck engines, and a prop sticks out far from the boat to avoid hitting the shallow bottom.
A view down one of the canal waterways...
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!)
One of the speedboats such as we were riding roared by...
People live all along the canals; here's a sample of the housing available.
You can conveniently shop right from your boat if you wish!
And here's the giant floating market, with wares on land and boat both! Plenty of shopping to do here!
Peter and Jack at the floating market, enjoying the warmth and the sun!
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!
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.
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!
A demonstration of milking the venom from the cobra...
The cobra was brought around to the audience for us to touch. Touching a cobra is supposed to bring good luck.
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.
Here's the business end of a python.
They held a net around his mouth so you can see his fangs.
The Rose and Orchid Garden
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.
Peter and Jack fed this female some bananas as they were waiting in line to ride one.
... and here they are up on the elephant!
... and letting loose with a torrent of pee.
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:
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.
We also saw a variety show that included, among other things, Thai dancing. Here are two women demonstrating...
Finally, Sophie playing with her toy after going all day. What a ball of energy! She did sleep briefly in the car, however.
Yes, we did all of these things above in ONE DAY. We will all sleep well tonight!