Market Friday: a boat trip along the Chaophraya River
The sun was out and the sky was blue; the monsoon season gave me a break after several days of heavy rain. So, I decided to go on a boat trip along Chaophraya river to survey any drastic changes after two years’ lockdown. The express boats and other tourists’ boat service had come back with the usual timetable. I didn’t take any boat trip earlier because there were very few express boats in service. The lovely weather gave me the drive to enjoy the boat trip.
The most drastic change was the renovation and expansion of the pier at Sathorn Bridge. The whole place looked more spacious and modern with new ticket offices and better lighting. The authority had put a lot of investment into revamping the old pier for expected rising trend in tourism. There were more tourists arriving in Bangkok but the volume seemed to be rather thin. There were about tourists waiting for their boat trips; more Asian tourists than Europeans.
We waited for the express boat heading towards the Temple of Dawn and Grand Palace. I had the time to walk around the pier and took some photos. The warm sunshine was quite a welcoming change as I could feel the sunshine warming my back and arms. The warm vibes made me very cheerful and full with enthusiasm for the whole day. Now I knew where to charge my internal battery so I could rush around more places in one day. I was glad I went to the pier on an impulse as I could see that things and surroundings were quite dynamics. The staff at the pier were hopeful as they could see more tourists arriving everyday.
A queue has started at the waiting area for people who wanted to get on the free boat ride to IconSiam, the biggest shopping complex by the river. During the beginning of this year, the whole place looked dark and very quiet as there was no free boat ride to IconSiam pier. There used to be overflowing tourists waiting for the boat ride to IconSiam almost three years ago. Hundreds of tourists would go to IconSiam for the free water fountain and light shows in the evening. I was eager to take a glimpse of IconSiam on the way to Thachang pier.
As soon as I got on the express boat, my heart was bouncing with gleeful joy of being swayed by the strong currents of the river. The river was imperceptibly very powerful; I banished the thought of falling into the river by accident! Looking around, the scenery by the river was so refreshing while the sensation of moving on water was very liberating. I was very grateful to being alive and sitting there enjoying my day trip. The ticket cost less than forty cents, so I counted my blessing and was determined to enjoy every moment. I was quite addicted to boat trips, there’s magical feeling of floating on water at high speed.
The houses and buildings along the river have changed a lot during the last ten years. Old houses with abandoned gardens have been replaced with apartment blocks, modernised houses, five stars hotels, condominiums and shopping malls. Some old wooden houses, Chinese shrines and temples could still survive the pressures from the socio-economic, political and financial changes during the last fifty years. The plandemics had slowed down many grand real estate development projects along the river. The market sent it had switched from bullish to bearish and the fear of a global financial collapse in the near future.
This river and its surroundings reflected many changes throughout the two hundred years of Siamese history. The old Christian church and westernised buildings reflected the heydays of international and diplomatic relations. The townhouses and Chinese shrines told us about the influx of Chinese immigrants and the establishment of Chinatown. All the new skyscrapers and condominiums told me of the booming years in the eighties. The small wooden houses reflected the gap between the rich and the poor as a result of lopsided economic and development policies.
But life must go on as the river continues to flow to the sea. The cycles of changes and life are always full of uncertainties and unexpected or unintended consequences. I had to remind myself to have awareness of the present and my thoughts while enjoying the refreshing atmosphere of the bright warm day. I gazed on the surface of the water trying to see into the future, but the river refused to share with me her wisdom. There’s beauty and compassionate vibes in the air that day, so I was quite content with the blessings and lovely day out on the river. I asked the river to spread her healing vibes wherever she traveled on her long journey.
Wishing you peace, good health and prosperity.
Stay strong and cheerful.