To the jungle!
Trip Start Oct 02, 2008
14Trip End Oct 12, 2008
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We stopped at a roadside fruit market, and I found a bottle of pineapple wine. The label was very old and worn, so I was kind of leery of buying it. I also didn't know if it was pineapple wine for sure, so I asked one of the native Thai speakers in our group to translate for me
The bus continues along the road to a giant Buddha statue built in the 1960s. It's the biggest in this region of Thailand, absolutely striking from far, even more impressive up close. We don't have enough time to hike up to the top, but we get close enough to really appreciate the juxtaposition of the extremely bright white against the dark green of the jungle. It's made out of stucco, but from so far away it looks just like precious ivory. The name of the statue is...wait for it... Pra-Phut-Tha-Sa-Kol-Sri-Ma-Mong-KolWe drive up to Wat Theppitak, another temple, with a whole bunch of chickens wandering about. People buy them pieces of bread, and it is supposed to give them good luck
I hadn't been told where exactly to go, so I walk all the way around, where I see no other people. There are some beautiful statues. Plated with gold leaf, and a whole bunch of ancient bronze statues. I'm sorry that I don't have my camera, but I'm having such a peaceful time in there, that it doesn't really matter. To my left is a small temple with bright red doors, I decide to get into some mischief and try and open them. They are bolted shut, and I'm out of luck. All of a sudden from about 100 metres behind me I hear, "LOUISE LOUISE! NO NO NO DON'T DO THAT!" I spin around and see Yui waving his arms frantically, "DON'T GO IN THERE!" He screams like I'm going to be struck down with lightning, the wrath of the gods will come down and immolate me until I am nothing but a smoldering ember, burning brightly and inevitably snuffed out. So much for metaphors. I slowly, and sheepishly walk out of the temple, still unsure of what exactly I have done wrong. I figure I shouldn't have been climbing up the temple steps, but no, that's not true, what I have done wrong is walked into a "monk-only" section of the temple. Which would explain why it was abandoned.
Anyway, I went to go feed some chickens with the rest of the people and that was cool
Lunchtime, we head to a grape winery in the middle of the Khao Yai national park. I mean, what's the point of growing grapes in a country that is overflowing with rice? I don't really understand the point. It just seems like another European-type activity to keep us occupied and out of trouble.
We sit down for some overcooked salmon, the multitude of fish bones, lodging in between the crevices of my teeth. We have a discussion on politics, the Canadian election and the Thai protests. Kayla mentions that Bangkok is a giant city and that a few thousand people protesting in the street is not a "big deal". Yeah freaking right. New York City is bigger than Bangkok, and if 5,000 people were organizing every night in the streets of New York, you're damn right it would be a big deal.
Then, we are escorted onto a trolley to the wine-making part of the grounds, there are grapevines all around, nothing that I haven't seen in Niagara or Okanagan, so I'm still not getting the point. Anyway, we are shown around the facilities and I ask about rice wine
Anyway, we get back on the bus and make our way to the home for the night. Kirimaya hotel, in the middle of the national park
I carried my coffee out to the bus (more of a jitney than a bus, colourful with open windows and no back door). I had only worn a sari and tiny sweater to dinner, not thinking it could get that cold. I boarded the rickety old vehicle and climbed a little metal ladder and thought nothing of it. I totally forgot that we were in the mountains, the air is much drier and cooler up here, in the midst of the clouds and barrelling down a windy mountain road at 80 km an hour. I remembered the stars are different in this hemisphere, but I couldn't recognize them anyway, so it didn't matter. Roger pointed out that we were closer to the stars than normal because of the altitude and I burst out laughing, in total disbelief. Does 2,000 metres make a difference when the tiny suns are lightyears away? Sounds fishy to me. Anyway, I was just freezing, needing to pee and also really super tired. I tried to sleep a little bit and it worked marginally well. Finally, we got to the park, climbed up onto another even more rickety bus/truck thing, outfitted with a giant spotlight in the front seat on a swivel, operated by a man with a blue poncho and matching helmet
Frozen to the bone and almost shivering, finally we get back to the hotel, it takes me about two hours to upload a video, and then I go to bed, the sound of cicadas buzzing in my ear, lulling me to sleep.