08 April 2011

Express Boats on the Great Chao Phraya River

.
Again I sing the praises of my favorite transportation in the tropics. Sorry if I’m repetitious and have written this before.
.
Taking express boats to downtown Bangkok is slower than going by taxi and much hotter, although sometimes river breezes give a bit of relief. But the boats are much cheaper and are an adventure in themselves. One gets to see Bangkok at water-level, at its roots.
.
Sometimes the boats are so crowded that there is standing room only. If that is the case, I like standing in the back squarely in front of the engine-box. Let me explain:
.
An express boat is about the size of a bus, an aisle going up the middle with pairs of seats on both sides. The pilot is up front. The forward two-thirds is seating; the aft third is engine-box plus steps up to the deck in the stern where folks embark and disembark as the boat briefly hitches to the piers along the way.
.
If I have to stand during the voyage, I prefer the times when the standing customers are not too packed together, so that I can pick my spot, standing squarely in the center, just in back of all the rows of seats and immediately in front of the engine-box. To me, that is the boat’s center of gravity, its very soul. Standing there, I can feel every bit of the boat’s flex as the wooden structure twists and bucks with the waves. Looking up the length of the vessel from this spot, I can watch the pilot turn his wheel and then feel the slight delay of the craft’s response. It is the organic center of the ship.
.
On those days when it is not too crowded, this standing spot is also the coolest place on board because the breeze funnels right back to you.
.
Blessed coolness. Zen delight.
.
-Zenwind.
.

No comments:

Post a Comment