INTRODUCTION: In Thailand, there are countless numbers of rivers and canals linking the cities of the country.
INTRODUCTION: In Thailand, there are countless numbers of rivers and canals linking the cities of the country. The house-boat has become a familiar sight along these ancient waterways. For some people, like the nation's noodle-sellers, it not only provides a home but a source of income.....as a floating restaurant.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Loam Kataitorn and his family operate their floating noodle restaurants along the canal routes of Bangkok. Mr. Kataitorn is the father of seven children, five daughters and two boys. Being very much a family enterprise, two of his daughters, Miss Samlarn, aged 19, and Miss Samlern, aged 18, each control a boat.
Mr. Kataitorn owns six boats altogether. Two of them are run by his daughters, two by his sons-in-law, and one by his own son. His children entered the family business after completing only four years formal education. But it isn't until they are married, however, that the income from the boats belongs to them.
The majority of the noodle vendors are from Ayudya, around 100 kilometres north of Bangkok. Mr. Kataitorn used to be a farmer in his home country, but he was unable to support his family on his small six-acre farm. So he came to Bangkok. That was eight years ago and he has been running his noodle-boats for a living ever since.
He is still poor, but still he works towards his lifelong ambition-returning home and buying a livestock farm. The competition is tough though. There are around 40 noodle restaurants on the canal.
In town, a bowl of noodles would cost 25 cents (U.S.) while on the boat it sells for only 13 cents (U.S.). But if that isn't enough to entice the customers, Mr. Kataitorn offers two different menus-one boat cooks beef noodles and the other pork.
To add to his problems, local authorities recently proposed a plan for a massive clean-up operation along the canals. Within the near future the canals will be used for transportation purposes only, banning all house-boats.