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Date Posted: 10/20/10

October 7, 2010 - Docked in Bangkok

By: Arturo Valdez

5:00 AM (Thailand time) Oct. 7: Balangays docked on Chao Phraya River near Khlong Sapphasamit area south of Bangkok proper. We're waiting for immigration clearance to disembark so all of us are just staying on the boats. As soon as we hear from Pastour and Janet that our permits to land are ready, we will proceed upriver to our designated port of call.

Message from Balangay Masawa Hong Butuan

Team Balangay is really grateful for the assistance and support given to us by Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Ling Fonacier-Lacanlale and her embassy staff. They went out of their way, above the call of official duties and beyond regular... working hours, just to ensure our safety, convenience and comfort. Our land trips around Bangkok were all arranged by them with a van assigned to us wherever we go.

Our stay in Bangkok is one of the most challenging for our now seasoned intrepid crew. It's because we're docked beside a naval yard on the Chao Phraya River several kilometers south of Bangkok proper. The river's currents are very strong to go against, and big ships cause huge waves in their wake. The balangays rock and roll most of the time while anchored on Chao Phraya's muddy bottom. We're staying on board in the absence of living quarters in the naval yard or nearby area. Just imagine living under these conditions!

Upon entering the river, we were looking forward to some rest on land after our non-stop 42-hour travel from Khanom. In Khanom, we only stopped for a little over 3 hours for re-provisioning. That was after several days and nights of sailing from Terengganu, Peninsular Malaysia. We were supposed to stop over in Songkhla. We had to bypass Songkhla due to lack of immigration clearance. So our Terengganu to Khanom trip became our longest non-stop sailing. Without disembarking in Khanom, we proceeded to this place on the Chao Phraya River many kilometers south of Bangkok. For some, if not most of us, it was like one continuous sea journey from Terengganu to where we are now.

After all the sleepless nights and the deft zigzags over water hazards, we're in higher spirits and enjoying more the simpler joys of being penny-pinching budget-challenged tourists in Bangkok and environs. When the going gets tough, the tough get going! YES, KAYA NG PINOY!

Salamat sa mga kababayan natin sa Thailand na tumutulong at tumatanggap sa amin. Kayo po ang inspiration ng Team Balangay. Sorry po na medyo malayo ang mga balangays sa Bangkok mismo at mahirap kaming puntahan. Basta pag dumalaw kayo sa amin, tiyak magugustuhan ninyo ang malilinis at magagandang labas at loob ng aming mga "tahanan". Nag "housekeeping" po kami nang husto para sa inyo!
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