Yep, I have been assaulted! Two very cheeky wild monkeys thought of having some serious fun ambushing a naiv Westerner! What a team effort it was indeed.

One of them caught my attention. As I was preparing to take a picture, I got attacked by a monkey from behind. He nicked a bag of sunflower seeds I had just bought from the entrance (instead of an admission fee). The whole bag gone! And what a greedy guy it was too; he was still eating about 20 minutes later and guess what, no he wasn’t sharing at all.

So, I’ve advanced further north. After two wonderful days at Ayutthaya (highlight: a talking bird!), I took another slow train to go on to Lop Buri, an hour’s train ride north. It’s famous for the wild monkeys. They are everywhere. And everyone apparently reckons they are a bit of a nuisance, but since realising how much tourism can be made from them, monkeys are honoured with huge monkey statues everywhere in town. (Has anyone read Bill Bryson’s Down Under where he mentions the giant lobster, or the big banana – or how Australians like anything huge? The monkey statue is a bit like that.)

Lop Buri is just about right for a couple of hours stop over. Or four if your onward train is delayed. The two legs from Bangkok cost a total of 35 Baht (roughly 80c), the onward leg on a second class, air conditioned express train are a whopping 393 Baht (about 8 Euros) to Phitsanoluk.

Apparently there’s not much to see in Phitsanoluk apart from a couple of temples, the night market and the Flying Vegetable Restaurant (if you thought German tourists are embarrassing, wait till I tell you the story of a 30-people British tour group and the mess they made of themselves in the Flying Veggie Restaurant…).

The next morning I ventured out to see what is the most sacred Buddha image in the country, matched only by the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Signs everywhere are in Thai, but they make sure Westerners get a chance to show respect: the only English script signs are “Please don’t stand up while taking a photo of the Buddha image”.

Outside the temple I see a guy drinking iced coffee straight from a plastic bag. It catches my attention and I want one. The girl at the vendor cart has no English at all, so lucky for me the Thai word for coffee is quite similar. I actually don’t know what I’m getting as she starts fiddling around with instant coffee powder (they ususally come with sugar and creamer in a 3-in-1), sugar and a disgusting looking semi-transparent white paste that reminds me of wall paper glue.

I get the farang bonus, probably combined with a farang surcharge as well, and my coffee is served in a huge plastic cup full of crushed ice. Coffee mixture on top and 20 Baht later I sit by the river and have what will be known as the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever tasted made of instant coffee. Lovely! It’ll probably be unmatched.

Later that day I moved on to Sukhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage site of old temple ruins. The national park is where I’m heading today (and by the time you read this I will probably have seen it).

See ya later.

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