Sunflowers, Vampire Monkeys, and non-existent train platforms

The new year is bringing new adventures in new places – as it should. I have set ambitious resolutions, I am travelling to new places, and I am (hopefully) going to make more concrete plans for my future before 2015 is out, so it only makes sense that it starts in a new city doing things I’ve never done before. After our late night in Bangkok city centre, and after setting ambitious resolutions, we decided to have a ‘rest’ day in our hotel and its surrounding area. It was nice to have a cheaper Bangkok day! We finally went in the pool that we insisted our hotel must have, which was a) an infinity pool (very impressive – ish) and b) very cold. We decided to swim some lengths, and after presuming the distance to be about 18 metres (this was obviously done by very thorough guestimation and nothing else) we swam 56 lengths – or 1km. Starting the new year as I mean to go on with exercise.

We have met up with multiple friends at Terminal 21 and for New Years Eve celebrations, so it was nice to have a down evening just the two of us. We set out to the WIFI café we visited during orientation, but discovered it was closed, so went to a bar round t he corner. It was showing the football (Stoke v Man Utd) so it would have been rude to go anywhere else. It was nice to watch live football, even if it was Utd!

Friday was one of the big days we had planned before we went down to Bangkok. Jade really wanted to see the sunflowers fields of Lopburi, and I fancied going to, so we decided to go by train, and see  them now before they died. Trains in Thailand (if you risk 3rd class) are mega cheap – we’re talking £2 return between us. The journey wasn’t even that bad! It took 3 hours, and took us straight into the city centre, so it was just a shortish tuk tuk out to the fields.

When we arrived in Lopburi, the tourist information informed us of the old city and the temple. We discovered it used to be the capital of the country, and as it was close to the taxi place we thought we would quickly check it out before going to the sunflower fields. When we got there, monkeys were everywhere. I mean everywhere. On the roads, on cars, opening half empty drink cups that they had stolen from a passer-by. I didn’t particularly like the idea of walking next to them, but we wanted pictures at the temple before we left, which meant that we had to get a little close for comfort. Not only did we get our own, but we were asked to pose with a random family for a holiday snap – I dread to think how many  people’s photographs contain us.

A few minutes later, and no fewer than 4 were on me. I didn’t like it when they started to pull at my piercings especially, so I tried to get them off. One bit me. Evil, vampire monkey. I knew a hospital visit was required, but Lopburi is not known for the best clinic services, and we had travelled for the sunflower fields, so we got a tuk tuk out there.

They were vast, and impressive. It sounds stupid, all things considered, but they were very yellow. I mean, very yellow. There were many fields, but we opted for one with swings and signs, giant sunflowers and trains, figuring they were probably the best to photograph. We spent the best part of an hour posing for photographs all over the field. I think  they’re some of my favourite photographs from travelling so far (one has made in as my gravatar on here!!)

The train journey back was a little less comfy and seemed to take forever, even if we did watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which we both had read ont he way there. The train journey both ways went through Bangkok and went passed some of Bangkok, and Thailand’s, famous places, including Ayutthaya. I definitely think we will be visiting there on our return to Bangkok post teaching, I’d really love to go after seeing it on the Hairy Bikers tour of Asia. The train also went through some of the most basic train stations I have ever seen. Some barely had platforms, some literally backed onto roads, and some looked like they were stopping in the middle of a building site.

When we got back to Bangkok, we headed straight to Khao San Road, thinking that the area was most likely to have a international quality clinic. We were right, but it had unfortunately shut for the evening. While we were there, we also decided to fulfil both our wishes to try a bug, namely a scorpion. As unappetising as it looked, once we had taken numerous photos with it, we both tried the tail. It was actually pretty nice, just impossible to bite through the rest really. The pincers were just too solid to bite through. We have it a go at least!

The hospital we went through may have cost an arm and a leg to keep my bitten arm, but it was worth it. I needed rabies injections, and the wound properly cleaning, so I knew going was the right thing to have done. The wound was so small and insignificant, that the whole pa-lava seems ridiculous, but it’s definitely  better to be safe than sorry. The late night was not what we needed ahead of making lesson plans and a long bus journey, but oh well.

Despite everything that happened, there were many good memories and photos of Lopburi, so all in all, it was still a good day. Especially now as I don’t have to worry about getting rabies from a vampirific monkey.

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