Published: July 23rd 2012July 19th 2012
We enjoyed the trip with Joni the guide at the canals yesterday so decided to go with him to the mines. We dropped our parcel off at the post office first and feel really relieved that it is gone. Harriet was excited that there was no need to get up before 9 but her plans were thwarted as they are doing works at the hotel which started at 8. It was impossible for her to sleep through the drilling and hammering. It's hard being a teenager.
Joni took us to a polishing shop where they explained about rough diamonds, agate and how they cut and polish. We watched them at work and then got to look at the ones for sale - no surprise! Fiona didn't actually like any of the settings so it was easy to walk away without a purchase.
The mines were just down the road and very primitive. They dig up the mud wash it several times and then pan for diamonds. The workers form a co-op and receive 50% of any finds less expenses. They work for subsistence until they find diamonds, gold or agate. The men we spoke to hadn't found a diamond
for 2 weeks. Most of the time they are in water or mud, but they all seemed happy and not coerced at all. It made us appreciate the cost, but these men weren't making the profit. Several men unwrapped pieces of foil to try and sell us diamonds. It felt like doing drug deals, but we still weren't tempted enough to buy. Even if they were real, which we wouldn't know, the cost of setting them at home would be too much.
Joni obviously thought he was on to a winner with us and wanted to organise loads of other things for us to do, but we had made other plans and didn't need him. He was a good guide but we had seen what we wanted to see, so we parted company. We had booked a massage at a local place and headed off to be pampered and relaxed.
Although we clearly asked for the relaxing aromatherapy massage the message didn't seem to get through. To start we had to climb 2 sets of stairs to get to the rooms. Harriet and Fiona went one way and Toby the other. There was a sliding door between Harriet
and Fiona's cubicles and so they left it open. The massage the girls got was brutally deep and also involved slapping quite hard. It felt good but not relaxing. Afterwards they were given a ginger drink and Toby came through to tell them of his experience being thrown around and walked all over - still not relaxing. Fiona and Toby had every bone in their bodies cracked and we are hoping our chiropractor will approve. Harriet seemed to have got away with a slightly gentler massage but not much.
To get to dinner we took a motor rickshaw. We thought this driver was going to have to get out on the bridges too, but the motor managed to get us there. We had been looking forward to trying the local delicacy - roti bakar. This literally means grilled bread. They fill it with different things so Toby ordered durian and Harriet chocolate and milk. It was a little disappointing as the bread was just sliced bread and it was like toast with a filling - nothing special, but at least we tried it.
We crashed as early as possible because in the morning we were
off for a tour of the floating markets at 5am
, much to Harriet's disgust.
There are more photos below