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Market Days and Cooking Class

THAILAND | Friday, 31 October 2014 | Views [268]

Aaron in cooking class

Aaron in cooking class

Eventful couple of days.  Yesterday we decided to hit one of the tourist destinations that neither of us had previously done:  the Floating Market.  We arranged with the tourist information desk at the hotel to help us arrange transport to the market.  Turns out it is further from Bangkok than we had originally thought:  about 100 km.  Price for the ride there was a bit pricey, but we figured it was arranged through the hotel folks, so we went ahead.  Were told that the boat ride there would be a separate charge, and they would not quote me a price due to the fact that "it depends on how long we want to go on the boat." 

Before getting to the floating market, we were taken to the "Train Market," which we were initially not that keen to do, but it was on the way.  Why not?  Officially known as the Maeklong Railway Market, it turned out to be fascinating!  An expanse of stalls and vendors set up along a defunct part of the tracks, mostly covered with tarps to give it an underground grotto-like feel, with intersecting alleys covering a couple of blocks at least.  It is a market for local people, and as tourists we were largely ignored.  You can buy all manner of fruits and vegetables, many of which I could not begin to identify.  Also fish, meats, water bugs (which I first thought were cockroaches), chicken feet, eels, and frogs (grilled or live). We frequently had to step aside for motorbikes coming through, driven by local people shopping. 

Then we were taken to the Floating Market.  I had pictured this in a similar way to the Railway Market, but on water.  Nope.  It's for tourists,  held mostly captive on a boat and taken to stall after stall after stall of similar wares, most of which looked very familiar from your local import shops back home.  It was a lot like going to a flea market but having to stop at every stall as if you are interested, and then telling the vendor apologetically that you are not.  Kind of exhausting.  I'm glad we experienced it, I guess, and it would be great to shop (and haggle) for lots of little gifts for people back home if you really enjoy that sort of shopping.  Not really our style, and not something we would repeat.  Also, we were really overcharged for the entire experience, which made me a bit upset in general.  Cannot continue to get scammed like this and survive six weeks here.

Today though!!!  Today was our cooking class.  We signed up to Cook With Poo.  It was great!!  cookingwithpoo.com    Poo is our teacher's nickname, and I found out about her from her cookbook that I bought my friend Laura to add to her funny cookbook collection.  After reading about the great contributions Poo makes to her poor neighborhood, I wanted to meet her and take her class.  We had a great time.  First we were taken on a tour of the local market, similar in many ways to the market we visited yesterday except that we had a guide!  Great to get some more info about the interesting foods and animals we saw.  Then we went back to Poo's kitchen and learned four great quick delicious Thai dishes, as well as getting the chance to try 6 or 7 of the unfamiliar fruits we saw at the market.  We decided Longyans taste like sweet grapefruit.  And snakefruit tastes like a tart, sweet apple. 

We also braved the SkyTrain and the subway today to get to and from the class.  We are feeling like we can get ourselves around here pretty well now!!  We leave Bangkok tonight on the train to Chiang Mai!!  We are taking the overnight sleeper train, where we have upper and lower bunks with curtains.  It's train #13, which sounded a bit unlucky until we realized that it's Halloween! 

Goodbye to Bangkok, and off to our next adventure!!

Tags: cooking class, floating market, railway market

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