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    « Songkran Holiday: Part 1 - Trat: Town and Estuary | Main | Songkran Holiday: Part 3 - Mairood Fishing Village, Khlong Yai District »

    Songkran Holiday: Part 2 - Klong Yai Port and Hat Lek (Cambodian Boarder), Khlong Yai District

    THE THAI-CAMBODIAN BOARDER TOWN OF HAT LEKKhlong Yai District is a narrow strip of land along the northeast shore of the Gulf of Thailand.  It is a rarely visited region of Thailand and mainly serves as a route to the Cambodian Boarder at the small town of Hat Lek.  Khlong Yai and Hat Lek are fishing ports for the Thai fleet of shrimpers, squiders, and general market fishing.

     

    Hat Lek is a boarder post between Thailand and Cambodia.  It is a bustling little place where tradesmen scurry abut with carts full of produce bound for the Cambodian side.  We did not pay the fee for a Cambodian Visa, so only saw the Hat Yai, on Thai side.

     

    Beautiful, and busy, downtown Hat Lek, Thailand.

     

    Hat Yai was crawling with Durians.  Apparently it is a good time to send Durians from Thailand to Cambodia.  We got there early, around 7:30, but we were already too late for the morning market, which seemed to be already closing up.  I find these dray carts ("a strong low cart or carriage used for heavy burdens.") fascinating

     

    There were still many dray carts heaped with Durians when we got there . . . and plenty of buyers.  Personally, I LOVE Durians and consider them the very best fruit on Earth.  They are known as The King of Fruits by those, like me, who crave them.  However, about half of our planet's population consider Durians the most disgusting and sickening fruit in this quadrant of the universe.  The human being is completely split about liking or hating Durians!

     

    Durians, Durians, and more Durians.  Yum, Yum, and more Yum!

     

    The cart porters were obviously NOT paid by the cart . .  but by the piece!

     

    There were all kinds of dray carts toting all kinds of goods both ways across the boarder with Cambodia.  You can see the Durian traders in the background.

     

    Packed, loaded, and headig for the Cambodian boarder.

     

    If you have spent any time in my photo blog, you know I have more than a passing interest in push carts, dray carts, and street peddlers carts.  These carts are obviously purpose-built for this situation: transporting goods to and from Cambodia.  The porters were also fantastically photogenic!

     

    Many of the dray-men were pushing the heavy loads were women, er, dray-women!  As is often the case in Thailand (and around Southeast Asia), women who work in the sun take every measure to keep from getting dark skin.  Dark skin is a sign that one is a manual laborer and not a "refined lady or a "HiSo lady."

     

    A happy dray man.

     

    Hat Lek must be the Durian capitol of the world! 

     

    I would love one day to fill a gallery with these cart portraits . . . with one room dedicated only to Durian dray carts.  The Durian seems to me to be the best eidence that extra-terrestrials have visited our home planet.  The visiting aliens siply dropped the seeds of these amazingly yummy fruits after eating the box lunches their spouses packed home for the trip.

     

    The women porters' hats and masks made them very mysterious indeed.

     

    It got rapidly hotter as the morning grew shorter.  The merchants withdrew to the shade and under parisols.

     

    I ran into the Porter in Blue later in the morning sitting with her young child in the shade.  She consented to be photographed.

     

    One particular Durian porter caught out eye, not least for her bloodied hands from handling Durians without the thick leather gloves used by the other porters, but because she was so very beautiful.  Movie star beautiful!

     

    The dray women of Hat Lek, Thailand.

     

    Hat Lek is on the Gulf of Thailand, so after exploring the boarder trade in Durians we explored the little town . . . only to discover a Buddhist Thanksgiving ceremony dedicated to the sea presided over by seven chanting monks.

     

    The villagers were tending hand made sand chedis along the beach.

     

    It was an idyllic setting, on a perfect day.  I gave thanks as well for the bounty of the sea.

     

    A perfect morning to commune with The Buddha and with nature.

     

    Hat Lek also had a small fishing port.  We stood in amazement as the fishermen unloaded their boats by throwing pink baskets full of fish up to the waiting buyers on the stone jetty.

     

    Although it was only 8:30am, it was very hot already.  The boatmen worked very hard.

     

    Like everything we encountered on the Khlong Yai coast, the colors were vivid and bright.  Each fish buyer brought with him his own color-coded plastic boxes and baskets.

     

    As we were watching the fishing boats being unloaded, a boy and his father slowly glided into Hat Lek port.

     

    KHLONG YAI DISTRICT COMMERCIAL FISHING PORTAbout 20 kilometers south of Khlong Yai we passed this interesting roadside sign . . . and were immediately thrown into a perception of ourselves on a map as seen from above . . . a fun awareness shift!

     

    One of several commercial fishing ports along Thai Highway 318.

     

    Between Hat Lek and the fishing port of Khlong Yai, there are several commercial fishing docks.  We stopped at one and spent some time photographing the colorful scene.

     

    The port was a busy place: loading ice onto ships after they have been emptied and readied for a quick turn-around, and back out to sea.

     

    It was over 100f (39c) on this day.  Loading ice into the ship's hold must have been refreshing.

     

    The ice workers had the best job, that's for sure.

     

    Oh to be an Iceman's helper on a day like this!  Easy money!

     

    Some of the 'catch of the day.'

     

    This picture takin' thing ain't all that hard!  It's as easy as shootin' fish in a barrel . . .  literally!

     

    The docks were full of wonderful images, like this corroded old anchor . . .

     

    . . . . and the light bulbs use to attract squid to the boats at night.

     

    The dock and fisheries workers did not mind being photographed.

     

    Taking a smoke break among the fish crates.

     

    KHLONG YAI TOWN AND PORT

    We drove North on Thai Highway 318 back to the town of Khlong Yai.  We arrived in the late afternoon and headed immediately for the port . . . and the magic light that precedes the sunset.

     

    Khlong Yai is a bustling little authentic Thai port town that the tourists have ignored.

     

    We were greeted with more colorful and fascinating, and supremely photogenic, Thai fishing village scenes.  I never get tired of these scenes . . . and took thousands of photos. 

     

    The sunlight, and the water, flattened as the afternoon wore on.  I was happy to walk along the docks taking photos.  I was in a perpetual "Oh WOW!" state of wonder. "Basil, look at THIS!  Basil, look at THAT!"

     

    The people of Khlong Yai were very friendly and open.

     

    Old, weathered wooden warehouses and brightly painted boats reflected in the inlet.  Photographers' Heaven.

     

    So many interesting textures and patterns . . . and evocative images.

     

    Basil, an excellent photographer and teacher, gave me many tips on composition and how to get more out of my camera and lenses.  Thanks Basil.

     

    Wash day on the docks.

     

    We walked further out on the quay and noticed the buildings on the other side were dilapidated, unoccupied, and in many cases heavily damaged.  Perhaps there had been a big storm or tsunami . . . or somebody is behind on their mortgage.

     

    The abandoned green room (above) cast an amazingly abstract reflection on the water.  A little color enhancement and brightening in post-production makes for a very beautiful abstract photo.

     

    There was no shortage of photo opportunities of my favorite subject; the  textures of dilapidation.  I think of it as "Old Space."

     

    At some point the houses along the pier were no longer grounded on terra firma.  The mudskippers were up and about in the afternoon light making trails in the mud under the houses.  Mudskippers are fish that have adapted legs and gills for living outside the water . . . . just like the first animals that came out of the sea billions of years ago.  My advice:  Go back!

     

    The sun was beginning to set, which meant it was getting near dinner time.  I found this scene amusing; Mom had obviously sent the son out under the house to catch an ingredient needed for tonight's meal . . . no doubt sum tam with small crabs.

     

    The fading sun cast an eerie glow on the buildings.

     

    The sunset lit up an approaching storm approaching from over Cambodia.

     

    We reached the end of the pier, quite far out into the Gulf of Thailand.  Across the inlet was another pier.  What a scene!

     

    The sunset did not disappoint. "That cloud look like a horse!"

     

    Golden sunset light on an old building.

     

    We walked out back along the same pier, completely engrossed in the light.

     

     The port was beautiful in the dying light.

     

    We walked back into the little town looking for something to eat.  We stopped in a small shop for water and asked where a good, air-conditioned restaurant might be found . . .  and were told that there wasn't one in the entire town.  Gotta love that!

     

    We spent the night in the only hotel in town - the Khlong Yai City Hotel (not mentioned on the Internet - how is that possible?).  They seemed completely unprepared for the arrival of guests!  Although the air-conditining did work, I would not necessarily recommend this hotel . . .  but if you need a roof over your head after a hot and wonderful day, it will do.  We woke early and drove north to another fishing village, Mairood.

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    References (2)

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    • Response
      Lovely page, Continue the useful job. Thank you so much.
    • Response
      Response: pleny more fish
      Songkran Holiday: Part 2 - Klong Yai Port and Hat Lek (Cambodian Boarder), Khlong Yai District - Dr. Jeff Harper Photo Blog - Dr. Jeff Harper

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