Most noted for hosting The Bridge on the River Kwai, the provincial Thai town of Kanchanaburi, located 2-3 hours north-west of Bangkok, is a popular spot to visit. Nearby lie unique national parks containing chalky, aqua cascades and water savy monkeys. It’s also home to floating restaurants and the mobile discos that rattle life on the river.
Staying at the Nita Raft House, a friend and I decided to venture out and pick one of the many floating restaurants in town. The scene looked good – a serene, glassy river, a setting sun, and the famous bridge flanked by palms and modest Thai houses on either side. Finding a place to eat, we sat down.
Not long after placing our order, the scene began to change. A karaoke barge containing a load of drunken Thais parked not four feet from our table. Petrol fumes engulfed the Kanchanaburi restaurant, as did the rasping sounds of a drunk Thai who I believe at that moment thought he was the king of pop. “Yeah I’m the king”, I could imagine him saying. “Yeah!”.
Next came the smoke machine, where smoke poured out of that rickety barge in preposterous volumes, blocking the view of my companion. After continuing like this for some time, our meal still hadn’t arrived, while our neighbours who’d arrived later had received theirs (I could just make out).
After enquiring as to our meal’s whereabouts, a disgruntled waitress came over and slammed a huge, glazed duck onto our table. It was glistening pink/orange and pointing skyward, being skewed through the anus and out its mouth. She hurried off, and it was a while before I got her attention to tell her it wasn’t ours.
Sometime later, our vegetarian meal arrived. A plate of vegetables in a gloopy beef gravy with the odd bit of squid.
I was half expecting Blake Edwards to pop out with a camera at any moment.