Ayutthaya & Lopburi
21.01.2007 28 °C
Back to Bangkok for another sniff of the polluted air, my supposedly highly-rated hostel turned out to be less than satisfactory. I hopped onto the train and headed to the old capital city of Thailand - Ayutthaya.
This UNESCO Historic Heritage town has more than 40 magnificent wats. Some are Lao-styled, some burmnese, chinese and even Khmer-styled. Most look great from a distance away, however, need some major restoration.
My friendly tuk-tuk driver took me to a local restaurant for lunch and all the impressive wats around town. Over sunset at the elephant kraal, we watched teen elephants bathe themselves in the river after a day of carrying tourists on their back under the hot sun (a practice that can lead to deformation.)
Right when we were leaving, I noticed two baby elephants tumbling around their mothers in an enclosure. I couldn't help but to introduce myself to these two four-month-olds by gently putting my palm forward. In return, they placed their tiny and amazingly soft baby trunk on my hand. We bowed to each other. Then they tumbled back to get more milk from their mothers, seemingly knowing that I'm watching.
The next day, my tuk-tuk driver took me to Lopburi in his motorbike. In old Lopburi, there is a temple and ruins infested with hundreds of macquets, fed daily with fruits and vegetatables, for tourists. First brought into the town by a monk, these macquets quickly reproduced into a small colony. Temple keepers use sticks to scare them away from food on the altar (although there is a successful attempt at the roasted chicken.)
At the ruins opposite the monkey temple, hundred more macquet families and gangs reside. Tourists are actually encourage to go inside the ruin and look at the monkeys thru the bars, as if we are the zoo animal being watched by the residents here.
I ventured outside the safety of the temple ruin and tried to capture these creature under natural light. Just when I was focus at a shot, I heard a noise from my backpack and saw my lucky golden elephant keychain in the hand of a teenaged macquet. Within a millisecond, it was popped into his storage pouch inside his mouth. My attempt to chase after this thief and retrieve my keychain went in vain. Another lesson learned. Were we really evolved from monkeys or was it simply monkeys being monkeys?