Pulpology: Mark & Sonia's Intercontinental Absurdities!

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17 November 2008
Both ends of the spectrum in Samut Prakan
the cheesarific and the cultural, all in one day

We started our last day in Bangkok the same way we started our first one: with 2-hour his & hers Thai massages. Seemed like an appropriate way to end this week of ridiculous self-indulgence.

After our final "just appeared magically outta thin air" brekkie -- sigh, I will miss those! -- a van appeared to take us on a day trip to Samut Prakan. Apparently we'd raved so much about going to Nong Nooch the other day, that Ma Tuk had decided we should visit the crocodile farm, as well as something called the Ancient City, or Ancient Siam. We weren't entirely sure what we were in for. Which is always an interesting place to start from.

oktapodi nervously checks out the reptilesmore cheese, please!We picked up Bruce & Anne at a nearby spot (and by "we" I mean the dude driving the van Ma Tuk had arranged for us), and headed out to Samut Prakan, the small town where the croc farm is located. It turned out to be a mildly interesting stop, but high on the depressing/cheesy scale. There were literally thousands of crocodiles in fetid breeding tanks, with swarms of mozzies lovin' on the foul still water. It was intriguing to see all the different shapes and sizes -- and there's something surreal about crocodiles, especially close-up -- plus there was some educational material on hand so you could feel like you was learnin' and not just gawkin'. The "crocodile wrestling" show was super-campy, and there was a ratty zoo on the other side of the facility. By that point I was just about over seeing animals in cages, so I encouraged our motley crew to push onward towards the next stop.

replica of Chiang Mai pagodaBodhisattva Avalokiteshvara performing a miracleAncient Siam was really cool. I'm pathologically unable to resist comparisons with major US attractions, so I'd liken it to Epcot Center but with a much higher level of detail. (Please don't tell The Mouse that I said someone else had more attention to detail... they may send someone out to silence me...) The park is an enormous complex of historical replicas and reconstructions from various points in Thai history, with a beautifully-maintained garden and floating market winding through the center. It's quite impressive, and we could have easily spent the entire day there. As it was, by the time we'd eaten lunch there were only a few hours left before we needed to return the van, so we probably saw about a quarter of the place. But I definitely enjoyed what we were able to see. Wandering around in the striking late afternoon sunlight was the perfect time to see the temples and ruins and gardens in all their glory. Definitely a photographer's paradise!

As we were nearing the end, a call came in from Ma Tuk informing us that the appointed restaurant had experienced some flooding. No worries, we'd had a late lunch and were really only interested in a parting drink with our friends. Khao San Road was recommended -- and what a relief, I'd been worried my card would be revoked if I didn't visit this mandatory stop on the backpacker trail! No need to lose any further sleep, as we headed into the heart of KSR to enjoy a drink at Suzie Bar. The drinks were weak and overpriced, and the service was glacial, but the peoplewatching was rockin'. It was amusing to see how the other half lives... how we *would* have lived for the past week without our fabulous hookup from Zoe. The street was filled with farangs humping dirty backpacks, and vendors trying to sell them stuff. No time to be smug, that'll be us starting tomorrow.

We said goodbye to Bruce & Anne, who were returning to Perth the next day, and headed home to pack. Yuck! Definitely my least favorite part of travel. But we managed to cram everything back into our bags, including some last-minute clothing gifts from Ma Tuk. We went over to the main house, gave Ma Tuk a nice bottle of wine as a token of our deep appreciation, tipped the maids for doing our laundry and bringing us breakfast each day, and said our goodbyes. It's definitely going to be sad to leave this wonderful place, but it's time to move on.

* all pics from Samut Prakan
* Party time, excellent!
* Not-so-divine comedy

Ancient Siam
296/1 Sukhumvit Road, Bangpoo,
Samut Prakan 10280
Tel. : 0-2709-1644-5

Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 0 comments
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