After moving to conveniently located Thong Lo street, I now get the additional benefit of starting every work morning with a minor thrill. To get to my office, I take a ferryboat through a khlong (or canal) before hopping onto the MRT (subway).
As with anything, there are advantages and drawbacks. True, it feels a bit romantic, passing by trees and other boats. But then again, the water in the khlong is nearly black, and a distinct odor lingers in the air. The smell made sense after it was pointed out to me that sewage pipes run directly into the canal.
A tarp is strung up on either side of the ferry to keep out the canal water. This was the water, mind you, that I was warned against on two separate occasions. According to a coworker, canal splashback allegedly gave one German passenger an eye infection. “Always wear your sunglasses on the boat,” she warned me. This is all hearsay, of course. But then again, perhaps this explains why the ferry crowd is always fairly quiet, even during busy commute times.
Assertiveness and dexterity are required to ride the ferry as well. The disembarkation procedure is such: an attendant jumps off onto the dock and lashes a rope around a pole to hold the boat steady. In the meantime, you have to grip one of the ropes running the length of the boat and then quickly step onto a narrow ledge to hop onto the dock, hopefully not while the boat is in process of drifting away from the dock.
After a few trips, the process no longer seems so thrilling, as all novelty wears off eventually. But it’s still kind of nice to have to start my mornings off this way: I never fail to be more present and somewhat more optimistic after getting off the ferry. After all, it’s all about enjoying the small moments.