My day started out with one mission - to see some gosh darn monkeys. There were a lot of obstacles put in my way and a batted them all down gracefully (mainly tuk tuk drivers and taxis trying to overcharge me and me having to be use the "big smile" to get what I want (and no I'm not referring to my breasts...geez)). I make it to the train station after the most terrifying ride on the back of a moto; I swear I never, ever want to be on the back of a moto in Bangkok ever again, he did give me a helmet though which made me feel a little bit better...only a little. Once I get there I buy my ticket, which only cost me a mere 28 Baht (that's like 70 pence - roughly) and await my train (I had to wait an hour because the travel agency woman told me the times for the trains ARRIVING from Lopburi not GOING to Lopburi *sigh* like I said before - obstacles). Just to give you a mental imagery the station looked like this:
And the train on the opposite platform (I had a lot of time to stand around and watch and be watched...creepy) looked like this:
The journey wasn't too bad, it did take longer then they said to get there (obviously) and I did start to have a wee panic around oh 3 hours into the journey when we still hadn't got there and I was the only westerner in my carriage and perhaps the whole train. But luckily when it was time to get off the lovely Thai man on the seat across from mine told me that this was Lopburi and basically to move my arse before the train decides to move again. FYI the trains stop for about 20 seconds to let you off and on and then they start moving again, slowly at first and then you know, full speed. In some cases you have to walk across the tracks to get to the platform, there's no "live" rail though so no nasty shocks (trust me, I did it and I'm still here). The journey was interesting, lots of people were roaming up and down selling food and drinks and it was nice to see a bit of the Thai countryside - it looks a lot like the Cambodian countryside minus all the cows. I do miss seeing a cow every 45 seconds though.
Lopburi is a quiet town, not much to see there apart from a few ruined Khmer like temples and once out of the station I am accosted by a lady and her bilke/tuk tuk/pedal seat thing and she says she will take me around for 100 Baht, so I was like cool (watch carefully for she features heavily in this tale...). So we go to a few temples and I'm like, where are the fricking monkeys? Then she takes me past a market and I'm like yeah nice, now tell me, where are the fricking monkeys? (Don't worry I didn't actually verbally abuse this woman). So I say to her, where is the monkey temple? And she's like "oh! You want to go to the monkey temple?" No shit Sherlock, why else would I travel 3 and a half hours to get here? So she eventually takes me there and by this time my excitement has started to build, I keep catching glimpses of monkeys and then there they are, on the street, hanging off of lampposts and baloneys, running along telephone wires and generally being a menace. I was a little disappointed, it wasn't what I quite imagined. I pictured gangs of monkeys roaming the streets, terrifying but amazing their human neighbours. She must have noticed my disappointment for she told me that the streets are where they hang out but the temple is their home.
So we go to the temple. I pay my 50 Baht and bam! It's monkey heaven. It starts with only a few,
And I think really? Is this all the monkeys? Then we round a corner and there they all are. I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated,
there were just so many of them, mummy monkeys, daddy monkeys, sisters, brothers, babies, the whole extended family and the place reeked of monkey piss - mmmmm, nice. So yeah I felt a like they maybe were secretly plotting to take over the human race by sheer number and monkey intimidation tactics but then this fella(?) put my mind at ease:
Anyway I then explored the inside of the temple, which was cool, like I said before it reminded me a lot of Angkor Wat, the architecture was similar and so was the layout. All the Buddha's that were in the temple were beheaded though which was a little bit creepy, I asked my tour guide why but I don't think she understood my question, instead she told me to look up because the ceiling was full of bats. That was enough to freak me out, I do not want to be that close to a bat.
After the narrow escape from the bats and the monkeys I went and had lunch at a place that reeked of monkey piss (mmmmmm) and then headed back to the train station where my "lovely" tour guide tried to charge me 200 baht for a 45 min trip. I was not impressed. I refused to give her the money and told her that we settled on 100 baht so she's going to get 100 baht. I was so angry. After being nice to me all day she decided to try hoodwink me out of an extra 100 baht? After I paid for her drink at lunch as well! The sneaky son of a witch. I understand it's all business and they think that we farangs are loaded but matey, tricks like that don't swing with me. Needless to say that put a bit of a dampener of the day, I then had to wait nearly 2 hours for my train back to Bangkok (boooo). The train back was hot and cramped but it just reminded me of being on the London underground so I wasn't too fussed. By the time I get back into Bangkok I'm starving and I head in the direction of noodle soup and sleep.
But we still haven't addressed our argument have we (promise, I promise this is the end...) monkeys vs elephants? Well I have to say it's got to be elephants. After seeing the monkeys today and watching them frolic and errm attack each other I have decided that I much rather sit on the back of an elephant, riding through the jungle (terrified of falling to my death) then be surrounded by monkeys. It's a sad day for monkeys all over the world. I did have a great time watching them though and it was refreshing to get out of Bangkok for the day but at least now I know and I can put my curiosity to bed (that is only until I get to see some orang-utans!).
So fellows I must bid you goodnight, my typing has become erratic and I'm not quite sure what I'm talking about but I know that tonight I will definitely be dreaming about monkeys. Let's just hope I didn't "accidentally" bring one of those suckers back with me. I would have heard it by now no? Tomorrow I will go check out the weekend market and maybe spend some money in a frivolous fashion...
Big Ocean crossing love ya'll!
P.S I'm gonna leave you with my favourite picture of the day:
P.P.S I'll also give you the ex-rated monkey chilling on the steps picture. Enjoy.