Another hot night on the barge, parked outside the second lock. The humidity is dripping. We visited a village near the lock -- true Thailand -- nothing to appeal to tourists. A lively market with lots of local specialties -- fish, meat, cooked and raw food. Hard to distinguish shops from residences since the entire front is removed from each building -- like a U.S. shopping mall. What most markedly distinguishes these central Thailand buildings from those further north are the massive TV antennae, 4-5 stories high.
This is the last day of traveling and the group is feeling its collective nerves -- you begin to identify the folks who "wear well." There are those that are too cheerful, too silly, too whiney, too talkative. Little animosities have sprung up and you catch under-the-breath mutterings and occasional snide remarks. Inability to get a good night's sleep greatly affects the mood and some have resorted to sleeping pills. I've assumed my usual position at the periphery of the group.
River again. The barges and our white Euro-american faces and clothes delight the kids bathing or fishing in the river. Yesterday -- Saturday afternoon and ordination day for Buddhist monks -- the river was full of laughing children.