Bangkok - Si Lom district and Alligators

Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
Trip End Jul 23, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Pathum Thani,
Monday, January 28, 2013

The pouring rain, booms of thunder and sharp flashes of lightening woke us up a couple of times in the night but by morning it had all dried up.

We went down to breakfast at around 09.45, we were only just making the deadline as didn't wake again until 8:20.

As we didn't need to be at the station until 21:30 hrs, Terry paid an extra 500 b (£10) to keep our room, so we could wash and chill before catching the Chang Mai sleeper train at 22:00.

We wandered out the hotel and decided we had seen enough historic sights for one week so headed to the modern Si Lom area as this is where the Lady Boys hang out.

We took a Tuk Tuk to Hua Lamphong railway station ( we could not pronounce this but the Tuk Tuk drivers accepted our efforts of 'Humpa Lumpah') and boarded the underground east for 2 stops. The subway was very clean, airy and efficient and good value for money. When we emerged into the daylight we discovered the other Bangkok, modern, richer, commercial and boring, unless you like shopping.

We wandered around an impressive shopping mall four storeys high and then stopped for a coffee and iced mocha. Nice but, very commercial.

After an hour or so of walking we decided to have a stroll around Lumphini Park, a big green space akin to Central Park in NY. We meandered without purpose along tree lined avenues, over canals, between pagodas, shrines and various sizes islands. We picked a shaded bench on the middle island for a rest when I spotted a large reptile swimming toward us. Terry took one look and said it was an Alligator, and started to scan the immediate area dramatically for any way it could get out and get us. I wasn't convinced, as it seemed to have a small head but neither of us had our glasses on; Terry said what I thought was a head was, in fact, it's jaws. Not convinced that even in this country Alligators would be loose in a public park we decided to take a risk at it leaping out of the water to have a closer look; needless to say I was right and it was, in fact, an extremely large lizard that we believe might have been a Monitor Lizard. Throughout the rest of our walk we saw loads of them scampering about, up trees and in the grasses and bushes - mad.

We arrived at the station to catch the night train to Chiang Mai about an hour before the departure time. The station was very hot and lots of people, tourists and locals it seemed, were lying around.

The train arrived a little late and a huge surge of people boarded, trying to find their reserved bunk and compartment. The train looked old from the outside and also inside. There were fans fixed to the ceiling but they didn't seem to be working.

The bed was higher than I had imagined it would be and it was difficult climbing up. It was also narrow but not uncomfortable; we each had a clean blanket and pillow and I thought I might be able to get a few hours sleep. We had a curtain to pull across for a little privacy but I kept mine open a little so that I could see Terry on the opposite bunk. As usual, we couldn't believe what we were doing and kept laughing at the situation.
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