Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sat. Feb. 10 - Rose Garden Riverside

The Rose Garden Riverside resort sits just down the Ta Chine river from where we took the boat trip, and it is 70 acres of incredibly beautiful rose and orchid gardens, along with a full resort, a traditional Thai village, & a cultural center with exhibits.

We had lunch in the Inn-Chan restaurant next to the river. It's named after the conjoined twins who became so famous in the 19th and early 20th century. It was quiet and tasteful, with the best meal of my trip so far. You'll see crispy fish and cocoanut ice cream below.

We decided to skip the show of traditional Thai arts this time, in favor of a walk through the gardens before returning to Bangkok. This resort has a western hotel, but also traditional Thai houses you can stay in, a spa, etc. I'm looking forward to coming back the next time Louis and I visit Bangkok (soon, I hope).

Sat., Feb. 10 - Ta Chine river boat ride

The river Ta Chine was delightful today, with the breeze, it wasn't too hot. It was quiet, green, and uncrowded. Quite a contrast to Bangkok. Look closely at the traditional Thai river houses, growing and harvesting vegetables that grow in the water, people washing clothes in the river. I predict it won't last long. You'll also see several new houses and a bridge being built. This is within commuting distance to Bangkok, so you can guess what's likely to happen. I'm glad I got to see it while I can still easily see the traditional way of life.

The nice wooden power boat is a bank that serves the river residents. The factory makes whiskey from rice. I'm told it's pretty harsh, not smooth like Scotch. The fish are everywhere, and they flock to the boat when someone throws bread to them (which the cute kids on board do often). I thought of my brother-in-law, Stokes, who's the champion fisherman in our family.

I think the reason so many of us find Thailand enthralling is the contrasts between new and old, along with the beauty and the gentle friendliness of the people.

The house below belongs the the first physician in this area.

Sat. Feb. 10 - Ta Chine riverside market

Perfect day of touring today. I met Pimol, Mantana, and her husband at the library by 9 a.m. and we drove about an hour to the Ta Chine river for a boat ride, preceded by a fine visit through their most pleasant, large market. It's much cooler here than in Bangkok, though still warm in the mid-90s F., but dappled shade everywhere.

Here you see photos of the foods, clothes, flowers, and crafts. The blue blouse is for my sister, Kay. Pimol is at the top with her palm-leaf dragonfly, made by the man seated with his tools.

You'll also see Mantana with orchids, the most gorgeous crispy fish, Thai sweets, etc.