I wanted to ride one of the commuter boats that go along the canals, but first I had to find the station, so I walked down a little path, with the canal on my right
past a shrine
through a leafy stretch that a woman had transformed into a garden
and then the path ended, depositing me in an alley
where I felt like I was stepping through people’s living rooms, until I came out on a street with another shrine
and a shiny tree
and then out onto a larger street which took me to a bridge over the canal, where I expected to find the station but found instead a blind man playing music, a sign perhaps of something I wasn’t seeing.
I doubled back on the other side of the canal, through construction sites and a warren of alleys with some very poor people living in houses pieced together from trash and chickens running free and dogs in cages and sacred trees with scarves wrapped around them and lots of garbage and then a fancy hotel with manicured grounds, and it was all very interesting but not where I wanted to be. It was the middle of the day, I was very hot and thirsty, and I had pretty much walked in a circle since leaving the garden along the canal, and I thought about just going home, since I had gotten back to a place I recognized, but I gave it another shot, went back to the blind man’s bridge but on the other side of the bridge - it sounds simple but is extremely complicated here for reasons I can’t explain - and there it was waiting for me, the ferry station.
The ferries have an ingenious, jerry-rigged system of blue tarps that can be raised and lowered to avoid having the toxic canal water splash on you
and there are brave women who walk along the edge of the ferry to sell you tickets.
People basically cower under the blue tarps and hope for the best, but I stood up most of the time to take pictures.
At the end of the line
I could see my destination, the Golden Mount
which is a temple that was built by one of the kings, fell down, and had another temple built on the artificial hill of its ruins. I walked up countless flights of stairs around the outside of the temple, past models
and more waterlilies
up and up
until I came out on an incredible panorama of the all Bangkok spread out before me.
The temple at the top was not very interesting, and I could see a dark storm headed my way, so I hurried down past more bells
and plants and models
and got back to the ferry for an exciting ride as the wind started to pick up and I could feel that the storm was about to hit.
I got completely soaked running between the ferry and the train, and then again between the train and my apartment.