Royal Barges

Cleopatra's barge...

The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
Burn'd on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggar'd all description: she did lie
In her pavilion--cloth-of-gold of tissue--
O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature: on each side her
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-colour'd fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did.

I kept thinking of this yesterday when we went to the Royal Barges Museum and I started munbling about Cleopatra's barge and the burnish'd throne line...but everyone looked at me as if I were crazy and no one responded with the purple sails.  Well, the Royal Barges didn't have purple sails but they must have had a lot of tired rowers. The prows had different decorations: a daunting dragon; a bevy of monsters, with teeth; a curling serpent's head (I think it was a serpent), There was a throne seat in the centre for the royal derrière. Oh, and there was a slim, mini barge for candles, no rowers. Maybe it floated with the current or else was attached to the main barge. Awesome.

Our party didn't proceed on barges. We were on longboats, with a canopy against the sun and motor-driven. But I sat on the right side of my seat and stuck my elbow out and enjoyed the breeze, very welcome in the 90-degree heat. Before we docked at the museum, we slowed down by a temple to feed the fish. We were handed mini loaves of bread and tore off pieces, as instructed, to toss into the water for the fish.  What fish?  Those fish that gathered below is in a frenzied food scramble, much like piranha.  I think  they were catfish, quite large and no wonder. They hang around the temple for the food; apparently it is a blessed gesture to feed animals or fish or birds, whatever.

The last part of the excursion I didn't like so well. It was getting late but we were taken to a Gem Gallery to be persuaded to spend welcome tourist money on jewellery.  (Thailand has sapphires and emeralds.)  We were due to be picked up for the next excursion, a Thai Extravaganza: dinner and drinks and puppets and Thai food and dancing and fireworks.

I remember when my daughter Liz was about 12 years sold, we went to a parade in St Catherine's (Ontario) , part of the annual Grape Festival. Liz was sad because she said it was terrible to have seen the best parade of her life at such a young age. Well, I saw one of the best fireworks display in my life and seeing how old I am, there's not likely to be any better in the time that's left, so I'm happy.

That was the day that was. Have to move on to the next day today, that is, March 28, but I might wait until tomorrow. There's lots more.