To the floating market in Amphawa, that is
After my one month and one week anniversary of being in Bangkok, I finally felt an itch to get out of the city. It seems ridiculous to say because Bangkok itself is my escape from my life routine in California, but let’s just call it a vacation from my vacation. A few of us international students joined forces with our Thai friend Pii Koii and decided it was about time to do something cultural—so it was off to the Amphawa floating market!
We arrived in the afternoon, dropped our bags off at the sweetest little inn next to the river, and immediately set off on (what ended up being a never-ending) binge of street food snacks throughout the market. There were prawns and squid eggs and coconut ice cream, oh my! We chose Amphawa’s market over Damnoen Saduak’s because of the great food and more local feel, so it was a real shocker for me to see so very many people walking along the riverside. Farangs were definitely the minority of the crowd, but there seemed to be an awful lot of Thai tourists visiting the floating market. This will probably turn out to be a very nice preface to the huge floating market though, because I’ve heard that Damnoen Saduak is ten times as crazy!
I cannot get over how much unbelievable food I tried this weekend. You really cannot get fresher than eating seafood that was caught that morning and never left the boat. But if I had to choose a highlight other than the smorgasbord of food, I’d have to let offering alms to a monk take the cake. Pii Koii had us wake up at 6:30, just after the sun and when the monks walk the town for their daily breakfast, but even that was too late to see the procession of monks. However, we heard that one monk had not received any food yet, so we bought some jook (rice porridge) to go and walked down the steps to the water with our offerings! After about a minute, one lone monk paddled down the river in his canoe.
Pii Koii talked us through the proper etiquette of offering our jook: we waii-ed, placed the food in his big bowl so that he wouldn’t have to touch a woman, waii-ed again, and then the monk asked us to join him in a prayer. I was concentrating on mastering the routine so much that I forgot to make a wish as I laid out my offerings for luck, though! I suppose this just means that I’ll have to try this again and get the practice down—sounds just fine to me.