Of Buddas and BoatsNovember 18, 2016 in Thailand ⋅ 🌙 25 °C
Thursday 17th November
Our aim this morning was to go and see the King’s palace and a temple then I wanted to go to the fabric area which Google told me was centred on Phahurat Road and conveniently was close to the palace and temple. It was a fair distance away and involved us catching two trains and a water-bus. The water-bus was great fun, if a little chaotic. Half the time we weren’t sure if we were on the right bus or where we needed to get off but we managed to get there. There were various other vessels sharing the waterways with us. There were the long, narrow and slick boats that had a thin red, yellow and green striped awning running the length of the boat. They were usually driven at speed creating a lot of noise and waves, skippered by young men standing at the rear of the boat, one hand resting on the tiller steering the vessel using a long prop shaft that extended several feet behind the boat, the propeller spinning madly almost on water level creating a big spray of water behind the boat. I saw these as the taxis of the river, fast, nippy taking people here and there very quickly. A sort of boy racer vessel. The water bus on the other hand was a ponderous beast, a work horse that chugged through the water taking locals and tourists to ferry points along the river. They came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some just going back and forth across the river rather than up and down it. After alighting from the ferry we looked around for the palace. Outside one of the government buildings a local got talking to Peter and we ended up being recommended to see 3 Buddhas and temples then returning to see the palace later. He sorted out a tuk-tuk and we felt a bit awkward saying no thank you – mistake number 1, stay focussed and don’t lose sight of what you want to do. I tried to say I wanted to see the fabric street but he said that it opened at night. That I knew was untrue as I had researched it on Google, I felt he was pushing us to do what he was recommending. With hindsight, I should have said, ‘thank you but we have other plans today’ but didn’t and ended up compromising what we set out to do. Once in the tuk-tuk we were driven to see a smiling Buddha, then the tuk-tuk driver slipped in he wanted to take us to see a gem factory and a tailor so he could get his fuel card stamped. Again, we should have said ‘no thank you’ but didn’t. By the time we had been driven to and trailed round these set up selling places at which I had no problem resisting all sales pitches and then onto see a standing Buddha we were all very tired and hot and none of us much felt like looking at fabric markets so instead, we got him to drop us back to the ferry station so we could get the water bus and train back to our hotel. I was very disappointed not to go to look at the fabric market as it was something I had been really keen to do right from when we planned the holiday. I felt our plans got railroaded by the guide and the taxi driver leaving us with no option but to abandon our plans whilst fulfilling his.
As this was the last day of our holiday we wanted to relax at the end of it so once we arrived back at our hotel we had a lovely swim in the pool to cool off and had a delicious meal at the hotel. Tomorrow we fly to Dubai and then onto Heathrow with Emirates. It will be an early start; we have to leave the hotel at 5.30am so will have breakfast at the airport lounge.
We have been amazed how quickly the time has gone, when we left the UK we had a month’s holiday in front of us and now it is over! We travelled to the other side of the world, the furthest you can go from the UK, just to see what New Zealand was like, we had heard and read so much about it and wanted to see for ourselves. The scenery reminded me of the UK; the mountains of Scotland and the rolling hills of the South West. I was surprised to find that it was mainly cattle not sheep that are farmed. In general, with a few exceptions I wasn’t very keen on the style of houses, to me they resembled mobile homes from the outside. I think a lot are timber framed, maybe this is to do with the fact they are in an earthquake zone and there is a certain type of home that is safer in design in case they collapse. Unlike a lot of people, I am not coming home thinking I could live there, I do prefer the UK. If I was going to live in another country Canada appeals more to me. New Zealand is a country that is well worth a visit if you have the chance, there is so much to see, we barely managed to scratch the surface really and the people are really hospitable.
The best place we stayed has to be Wendy and Peter’s in Napier.
Best town we visited was Napier
Best Meal – the Hangi at Rotorua
Most memorable moment – for Peter it was looking a dolphin in the eye from no more than a metre away when swimming with them and for me it was the beautiful architecture at Napier and two very special kiwi birds at Mount Bruce. Janet found it hard to pinpoint one thing but really liked the albatross nesting place and the seals at Kaikora.
So, until our next adventure – bon voyage!Read more