|Wise policy is setting priorities – differentiating between that which is merely important and that which is truly essential. And it would be both callous and self-indulgent for those of us who sit comfortably at home to form policy without full knowledge and consciousness of the costs to others, young men and women and children, whose lives turn on the abstractions of our discussion.||Politics – Government||Make gentle the life of the world|
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monuments of bangkok photography
The question of how to get into the centre had not gone away or been resolved. There was those boats, the ones that had stormed up the canal. According to the map (above) they clearly seemed to head the right way, assuming a correct interpretation of the pink bit (Rattanakosin) as being the centre. The trouble with these was no familiarity, how to find their stations, where did they actually go to, how do you pay for them … all things that were comfortable known’s with the BTS Skytrain..
For all the looking it appeared with the trains i had a problem, there was no one else about to help, so if i could find them, work out how to catch one and pay for the ride, maybe i could travel by canal boat ..
Also (+) .. what did it say about the thinking which sat behind all this, the adopted belief on where the central parts of town were? given that this was also the one patch of city studiously avoided by all the skyline trains..
Surely that raised some justifiable doubt about this base premise .. maybe the centre was elsewhere, somewhere where the trains went .. that would be more customary.
A conclusion was needed or the day would evaporate in the midst of confounded map re-gazing and befuddled guide flicking.
Back on the idea of the boats, it looked like there was some sort of stop near Ratchathewi station (one station along from where we were and where we had gone out for dinner the previous night) . From there it was clear it should, possibly, probably.. seemed likely – get me to a stop called Panfa Leelard. Perhaps even further, it looked like the canal flowed on to the main river.. maybe the ferry would go all that way, i wasn’t clear.
Perhaps, came an occasional re-occurring thought, very occasional.. Perhaps there was an advantage to reading up on places in advance of going to them. Trying to get a running start. There was those guidebooks we’d been gifted, they’d been in tow throughout our travels, remaining largely unspoiled.
On the flip side, even with the aid of now being here and the context that put around the guides pages and maps – conclusions were not forthcoming…Reading this stuff from afar, hard to see how that would have worked out any better.
With that uncertainty and lack of complete plan readied i opted simply to head out, with altered expectations about heat and distance.. i would put my head down that bit more and just go that bit further and then hopefully that bit further still, until such time as i arrived at somewhere. The good thing about being so close to a skyline train station was a taxi or a tuk tuk would always be able to return me to my point of origin, if other more exploratory efforts failed – safety net.
Some guided clips from the ferry canal boat – the narrator/host for this trip may well be a German man.
The canal ferry is really easy to use, its cheap and its fast – it doesnt however go past Panfa Leelard – which isnt particularly useful as a location. It terminates at Panfa Leelard, a place awash with Tuk Tuks and in reasonable proximity to the palaces and river, if you are a enthusiastic walker and if it were not quite as warm and humid as it very much was.
Tuk Tuks, like Taxis are cheating – i had no intention of taking one and was all set to attempt heading in one of the available directions and see what happened. With the smart phone to hand a sense of direction has been restored to those days of yore when maps, campuses and fetching eye glasses would have been always at hand. Take no account of environmental factors and plough on, see what happens.
My plan was foiled and in a way i cant explain – i was accosted by someone who loitered around the end of the pipe where tourists and locals alike emerged from the ferries. Normally, always, i politely or on a bad day less politely, make my way past any such under enticing offers – something failed. In the uncertainty and heat i cut a bewildered figure and the ideal target for those who loitered, against any desire or intention i found myself on a Tuk Tuk.. even the destination was unclear and unspecified, immediately regretful of this unforeseen, inexplicable failure to ward off.
I was dropped at a temple, i wasn’t sure why but went with it – the opportunity to continue as the master of my own fate for this day seemed to be have been lost in one unfocused easy going moment. – Never Again! or not.
The temple was small and apparently recently repainted. What surprised me was that i was invited to stand by the decorative display at the front and offer thought and i think wishes to the universe. This seemed like praying to me, the word God had been swapped out for the word Universe and the word prey had been quite expunged, yet i struggled to work out for myself in what way this differed. Unlike being at home i politely stood in compliant respect for their assertions.
Something had happened, some news while we were in Cambodia – on the first night – news that has no need to be recalled or put to digital paper. I offered my wish to the Universe, i was stood there and it was what i wanted, where was the harm. Almost exactly a year later the unnecessary evidence cam, the Universe had either not been listening or it realised some time past, existence couldn’t be run based on the whims and fancies of its numerous inhabitants (regardless of how important and real they may be to the individual concerned) shared as they were either by voice/letter in a chimney/or by specifically addressed thoughts with appropriate salutations.
I was wrong – i could take back control of my day, the second stop was a suit shop. I didn’t want a suit and i didn’t want to walk into a shop and use those leave me alone skills on the people there in. Those are skills to be used on people who encroach on me not those whose shop i just wondered into because a Tuk Tuk took me here and for no other reason. Nope that was enough of that – i offered to pay the Tuk Tuk man for this time so far but he didn’t want it, he wanted me to go in and that really wasn’t happening – on this occasion normal service had resumed and my mind was quite made up. Still he wouldn’t take payment, so i simply left and tried to ascertain where i had gotten to. Had all my work with the Ferry been undone? was i now once again far from anything that might be considered central or useful? – for this we have once more the smart phone.
Wonderings took me past things, hard for them not to – and a means to pass the time and to keep a record of the day i took some photos. Not all the things can be said to fully warrant being captured for posterity but the picture of the road seemed to encapsulate one aspect of this roaming.
Still without a plan i found myself on a river boat. It was quite full, with people standing and sat, not dissimilar to the London underground or any UK train during commuting hours – except these seemed to run to a relatively regular schedule and didnt require a bank loan to procure a ticket. I think there were also Tourist boats that allowed people to get on and off as they saw fit but the price of these was whole lot more and you would really have to be feel the need to get on and off at most stops before that would even come close to being worth while.
While the canal river boats conductors who sold tickets at what seemed like a flat fee that took no account of where you were coming from or going to, the river boats were a little more involved. Different boats had different tickets and they were bought from the piers, finding the right person to sell you the right ticket for the intended boat, that caused me some thinking and some failing.
I’d headed as far north as the river boat would take me and then after getting of, purchased a local or at least unrecognised brand of lemonade .. i also bought something else, it was thirsty times, something that didn’t get its photo taken and so has found itself quite forgotten about.
On the way back it was more a matter of judgement, the emerging plan being that somewhere down in the south – but the the last stop – the river boats shared a station location with the sky train and the sky train would provide a familiar, comfortable and easy route back to the hotel.
iPhone opted out – it did this occasionally – less of an issue when i knew where i was and where i was going .. it would take a moment, sometimes a few of them and eventually come back to me.
After a tolerable first visit and with time playing its part – the option of familiarity was selected. A return to where we’d eaten before at the Heap restaurant. This was a bad choice the meal was one of the worst i’ve experienced and on a holiday when food was largely enjoyable this was the winning low.. A broth with some sour flavour and chicken bones, there was no way of locating or rescuing meat from those bones, those were bones and sometimes skin.. They were also a bite risk, inadvertent tooth assaulting small chips of bone, too small to be avoided, surreptitious floating flakes that hid amongst the vegetation, waiting to be smuggled in and attacking from inside.