Saturday, February 8, 2014

Trip to Watergate

Saturday Lois and I decided to go to Watergate.  It is a shopping area about 1-1/2 miles away.

The reason this area of Bangkok is called Watergate is that in Thai it is called "water door".  But on some of the English signs in the area it is translated as Watergate.  One of the local hotels is even called the Watergate.

To get there we decided to walk along the canal. We walked along the canal for about a mile or so.  So as not to mislead you this is not a tourist attraction type walk.  The walkway is there mostly to allow access to residents along the canal.  The walkway does not go the full length of the canal.  Sometimes it is on one side and sometimes on the other. There are very few places to cross the Saen Saep canal.

Path to get to the walkway along the canal

To enter the walk way we went down a very narrow path next to the bridge that crosses the canal on the street that we live on - called Asoke.
We saw many interesting things during our walk.  We saw magnificent 30 story tall Condominiums, vacant lots, slum shacks, homes on stilts above the side canals, lots of trash, some on the land and even some floating in the canal. We saw walls of concrete, many with barbed wire atop them.  We saw multiple sites where the residents had left food and drink for their ancestors.  They do that at the spirit houses that they set up on their property. Sometimes the food and flowers were simply at the base of a tree along the walkway. 

Wall built to incorporate the tree.
Note: the charcoal cookers in the background under the corrugated tin sheets
likely used in the evening to cook dinner or to cook and sell food along the canal 
Elder Meeker on the Walkway on Sean Seap Canal

Slums on the opposite side of the canal
Typical canal boat pier

Canal boat speeding up the canal

Looking back across the railroad bridge we crossed over the canal
Note: the sleeping dog - he didn't budge at all when we walked by
About a mile into the walk, the walkway ran out so we then had to cross over the canal on a railroad bridge then along the railroad tracks to the street to go the last 1/2 mile. 
As we ascended to the tracks I asked a resident if the train was about to come. She said it does come but it was not coming any time soon.  So I felt comfortable using the train tracks to cross the canal.  This is not the main north-south train line in Bangkok.  After we crossed the bridge we bought a cold pop from a little store (shack) on the railroad right of way.  We sat down on bench under a tree also on the right of way to drink it from a plastic bag filled with ice (two straws).  It was my favorite flavor, Fanta Green.  It is actually a mixture of different fruit flavors. When I was a missionary years ago I simply called it bubble gum flavor. Because that is the flavor that it reminded me of.
After we got to the main street again (Petchburi) we walked about 1/2 mile to the Watergate shopping area.  The area is famous for the clothes that are sold there.  Both wholesale and retail - hundreds of shops.  We did a lot of looking and we did buy a pretzel from Aunt Annies.  Almond flavor is my favorite.  We walked back to the canal.  There is a pier right at the Watergate intersection.  We took the canal boat back to the office. 
Canal boat stopped for loading/unloading
Note the plastic sides on the boat.  They are connected to ropes with pulleys so that hey can be raised and lowered easily.  Raised to keep the splashing waves off of you and lowered so you can step into or out of the boat.  This is necessary because there are piers on both sides of the canal.  The seating is laid out such that the front and the back of the boat are filled with benches.  No aisleways - you step over the benches to get in or out.  The center of the boat is standing room only. There are ropes from the top canopy strung side to side to hang onto as the boat stops and starts.

After we returned to the office, we worked for about an hour or so and then took the underground train (MRT) to find a shop to frame a piece of art that we bought at Christmas time.  It is a lace type picture of an elephant.  We found a place.  They will mat and frame it for about $22.   We then went to buy some Ice cream for next week (we are entertaining).  We went to buy some high quality Ice Cream.  We priced Baskin and Robbins - Came out to $60 per gallon for a hand packed 1/2 gallon container.  We decided to go to Swenson’s.  We became members for $6 per year. We get 10% off all purchases for the rest of the year.  We got that Ice cream for about $12 a gallon.  We bought 6 pints. We got 3 different kinds of chocolate, Macadamia nut and some Chocolate/Peanut butter stuff for Lois. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the cultural education. I trust the young missionaries don't buy ice cream.