Coconut Sugar, Pottery on The Road To The River Kwai, Thailand
The long day from pick-up at the Navali River Resort until the final destination at Jungle Rafts had a wide variety of sights to see besides the Floating Market. We passed wide expanses of salt pans…View image. Locals sat along the road selling white bags of salt….View image… while others also had bamboo baskets filled with mackerel, the Thai people’s favorite fish according to our guide.
A stop to visit a family-run coconut sugar distillery…View image. The family uses the ground level to make coconut sugar in their also 150-year old Thai teak house. To make coconut sugar that Thai people actually prefer over cane sugar, is an intricate process. A piece of the bark of the coconut flower is used and it takes about 20-30 pieces of bark to make one vat of sugar. Coconut flowers bloom all year after a ripened coconut is cut or falls off the Palm Tree. The flowers are then boiled and becomes a liquor that is purified. More boiling and hand mixing for hours turns the liquor into a thick brown, caramel-tasting sugar (it resembled a taffy) that is placed in molds to harden, turned out and cut into pieces. Very sweet and yummy! Who knew that there was such a thing as coconut sugar… There’s always something new to learn about…
Upstairs to visit the family’s immaculate living space in this teak house (video) with pictures of ancestors…View image, along with their cremated ashes in jars, and their collection of Siamese Fighting Fish also known as Betta Splendens. Males are extremely aggressive and will fight if two are put together.
Off to the next stop, a pottery factory (video). Yes, I’ve seen pottery made many times but still find it engrossing. Chinese traders first came to Ayutthaya around 400 years ago (a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351-1767) with this traditional pottery and only wealthy people were allowed to have and use these particular jars. The gigantic jars, big enough to sit in, are sold to villagers who use them to collect rain water. Even if they are lucky enough to have a well, the jars are still a necessity when you live in a hot climate with one rainy season.
There were 80 people working there who get paid by the piece. One potter can usually do 8-10 pots an hour and churn out 100 each day, seven days a week. We watched hot pots being rolled out of the gigantic wood fired kiln, walked around, and learned even more about pottery making before stopping at a local restaurant for lunch. The day’s sights weren’t even close to being done…
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