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curriculum. Through casual conversations, young monks have an opportunity to practice their English. Meanwhile, visitors are able to connect with locals and learn about Thai culture and people first-hand. but it's unsurpassed in the richness of its fragrances and colours. rIverSIDe LIFe AnD DInInG Every evening at 7:00 pm the Manohra, a Thai rice barge converted into a floating restaurant, begins its slow cruise ChInAtoWn AnD along the river. Thai music is performed the FLoWer MArKet as the boat passes by the Temple of the Chinatown bustles by day and glitters by Dawn, Wat Phra Keo and the Rama VIII Bridge ­ all lit up, golden and sparkling night. On the main drag, Yaowarat Road, the royal thai Barges float down the river traders haggle in shops glowing with during important state events such as the on the water. For many, viewing these gold, while herbalists next door concoct King's birthday. sights from a boat on the river, exposed to the cool breeze while holding a drink, aromatic remedies. On many occasions, is the only way to sightsee. the goods are literally overflowing onto the pavement. At night, huge neon signs in Chinese characters For those who prefer to dine on dry land, the Supatra River light the area, as the streets and sidewalks are taken over by resHouse is an excellent choice. A wooden ferry boat leaves from taurants and food vendors of every variety. the Bangkok side of the river for the five-minute crossing to the Just downriver, next to the pier at Memorial Bridge, the Pak teak house on the opposite shore. As the boat reaches the SupatKlong Flower Market sees lots of action in the evening when the ra landing, the staff greets customers with a wai before escorting flowers arrive from the provinces. Porters with giant baskets of arothem to their tables. The interior of the antique teak house is softly matic roses and purple orchids run up and down the alleys with lit and furnished comfortably, although most diners prefer to sit their loads while roadside florists arrange bouquets and garlands of on the outdoor terrace in order to catch the refreshing breeze. At every imaginable hue. As markets go, Pak Klong may not be Banga riverside table, one can observe the daily spectacle of the lights kok's largest market (Chatuchak Weekend Market holds that title) turning on at the Grand Palace across the river. MAY­JUNE 2010 BLUe WInGS 71

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