Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cockles Farm

Ever wonder when flying into Thailand and you look out the window, the shorelines of Bangkok are streaky lines breaking into the dirty green sea, what they are? Well, this area is Samut Prakan, where the river empties into the Gulf of Thailand. These lines breaking perpendicular to the gulf are actually gravel roads and bunds that encircle farms of sea creatures.

These are the crab farms, fish farms, cockles and other shellfish farms, I visited one of them. Roads leading here are gravel, so when it rains there did be a high possibility that you will turn into a rally driver drifting sideways smashing into the pond of a million crustacean forming the livelihood of the simple people. When it rains, especially during a high sea tide, the proper roads leading into these areas could well be flooded so better to drive your 4WD if you got one.

The farmers live off the land (ok the water). They go into the brackish fields and feel for the cockles. They net in their fish or they massively drain the entire farm during harvest time to pick their “fruits” for the local wholesalers.

As the men work the waters, the women waited the side. The seafood is freshly eaten, by steaming, by cooking, by frying with the smell so fragrant. But the farmers will never openly BBQ their catch on the premise, for they believe it to be burning their live stock, their own money. A superstitious belief that they all strictly adhere to for the fear that their stock will diminish, as the crustacean scream on the hot coal and be heard mysteriously by their herd in the water.

And what they do for fun, they swim in the irrigation canals. The current could be strong, but their bodies could counter the streaming waters. And to the pole they held themselves against, and chatted and laughed as I wonder. I wonder the saying Thais cannot swim, and yet I saw them waddle.

Oh strange Thailand, I discover you everyday, I sat smoking, the long boat passes.

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