We set out early Tuesday morning to visit the very best floating markets south of Bangkok. Joy and Kathy hadn’t visited Ratchaburi for a few years, so it was a treat for all of us. We arrived mid-morning to a very lively and crowded market. Silks, handbags, shoes, art, elephant-everything, desserts, Pad Thai, artisans – where to start?

The smell of coffee brought my feet to a complete stop, eyes closed, I breathed in deeply, bypassing the various aromas of fish, stinky canal water and arriving at mmmm, espresso. Making my way to the counter, deciding hot or iced. Its 94F – does the ice have holes in the middle? All the tourist blogs state to only drink ice with holes, because it was manufactured. I can’t tell. Well, here’s to adventure. I place my order and moments later, sip my first Americano in Thailand – with holes in the ice. I’m sure my face radiated with pure joy. Doesn’t everyone feel that way?

Overcome with happiness, we continued our stroll passed textile vendors, snake handlers and dessert vendors. We stopped here and there, admiring the goods, haggling for over-priced souvenirs and admiring native artisans. Carved soap or wax paper weights, painted elephants and paintings of elephants, Jackson Pollock style. Clearly not unique, as many vendors carried the same goods, might I say #touristtrap ?

As most tourists do, we hopped in a small boat, commanded by an elderly lady, who effortlessly rowed our boat past floating food and good’s merchants. Vendors armed with long hooks, drew us towards their floats and stalls to admire native gifts of Thailand.

Getting hungry, we continued our trek across the bridge to the less touristy side, to discover a very, very large albino python, waiting for a photo op. Foreigners posed for selfies, handlers kidding around with unsuspecting guys, maneuvering several snakes between their legs. Say Cheeeeese. No thanks.

We grabbed some thai pudding and hit the road back north.