After last nights movies on full volume until early this morning - well the six o'clock alarm was not pleasant. Even though we managed to get up we still somehow missed the 6:30 bus. So we caught the seven o'clock bus instead. It was only an hour trip and the scenery was interesting, but I was having to struggle to stay awake. The bus was supposed to drop us off in town where we'd have to catch a local bus to the market itself, but instead the took us right to the canals - which we thought was great until we realized the driver had taken us directly to his friends and we had massive pressure to hire a boat. We went and sat down for a drink first, but in the end did end up hiring one - at a third the first price.
The ride through the canals was great - beautiful orchids and dense green growth separated elevated wooden houses that looked like they'd just come out of a National Geographic magazine - perfect. The floating market was just a regular market set along the canal banks - plus dozens of small boats and canoes selling everything - produce to hats we even saw many venders cooking in their canoes! It was very cool, but there were way too many tourist. Rather there weren't that many tourists there today (we saw maybe a half dozen other boats with tourists in our hour and a half), but the prices were very inflated (three to four times the starting price in Bangkok) so it's obvious that their used to the package tours.
We started walking from the boat docks to the bus station in town but flagged down a local bus so we didn't really have to walk far. The ride back was unexciting but I had the head nods again. At our hotel we still had over an hour until we needed to check out so I laid down to rest and of course didn't sleep at all. We left our packs with the hotel then wandered through the market looking for lunch. Ended up with delicious mini spring roll type things with a sweet chili sauce, but we saw some things that we weren't brave enough to try. The cooked five inch long cockroaches, fried grubs, and some other kind of segmented worm would have been our next choice.
We were waiting for the air-conditioned bus to Kanchanaburi but decided to take the non-A/C bus when it showed up first (actually a local told us that there wasn't an A/C bus but I don't think he understood what we were asking because at least three passed us). The real problem with the non-A/C bus was that it was cheaper (maybe 60¢ instead of 75¢) - which meant way more crowded and many more stops. In Kanchanaburi we started walking for the river. We'd read a recommendation for a guest house, but couldn't find it in the guide book and no one could tell us where it was so we decided to walk to the river and find a place that looked ok. We probably walked about an hour without ever actually getting to the river but in the end we found a sign for J's (the recommended place). The guest house is great, it's a collection of floating platforms that looks just like a floating guest house in Thailand should - very funky. Everything a river village in south east Asia should be! There was a huge choice of rooms and at the end we decided to splurge on the nicest room - it's it's own platform with a second story deck - we can even see "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" bridge - and it's still cheaper than Bangkok. First bit of business was to get mosquito coils - I can't imagine a better mosquito breeding area. The rest of the evening was spent sitting on the restaurant platform reading, drinking beers, and having dinner. After dinner we sat around and had a few more beers while playing cards. Sitting there on the rough hewn wood deck, looking out over the perfectly still water with the occasional firefly drifting by I had a major deja-vu experience of sitting at the restaurant at the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disneyland! Getting ready for bed I was not too excited to see one of those giant cockroaches in our bathroom - I guess it's to be expected living over a swamp. I just made sure the bathroom door was closed.