brain farts

Antenna Fever and Scandalous Monkeys

Posted on: January 8, 2005

On January 2nd, a group of friends and I decided to rent a van and driver and head on out to Lopburi. That morning I met up with everyone else at Miracle Grand Hotel at 6:45 a.m. OK, 7 a.m., really. Whatever. 15 minutes is hardly late, right? Well, alright, so maybe I was a little late, but blame it on the traffic light I was stuck at for 10 minutes. Or you could blame it on my cousins who’d slept over at my house the night before, and who made me stay up till 3 a.m., watching that annoyingly addictive and overtly sentimental Korean soap opera drama, Autumn in My Heart. I know, I know, with a name like Autumn in My Heart, I should’ve known better and steered clear of it, but with two hot Korean stars and a sob-worthy ending (she died! She died! Why did they let her die? Why, oh why???), how could I say no?

On my way to the hotel that morning, I had a nearly fatal encounter with a monk. I was about to turn a street corner when he popped up from behind a humungous sign. I swear, those stupid election campaign signs are so ridiculously huge. Me with my bleary eyes and 3 hours of sleep, didn’t see him lurking behind it and had a slightly delayed reaction and nearly ran him over. I waied in apology, and he gave a serene little smile in return, nodded, and continued on his way. Gee, run over a monk – talk about a great way to kick-start the new year!

I don’t know how or where Gug and Caro got the rented van from,
but it had Denla Kindergarten printed on the side.
Maybe they knew beforehand about the group
of zany, immature kids that were going to be renting it for the day?

Stopped by a gas station to store up on rations.

Check out that rising sun and those very sleepy faces!
No one should ever have to wake up this early.
It should be, like, illegal or something.

And away we go!
You can see Ton over on the right, holding what he personally calls
“the best drink in the whole world.”
As a green tea lover who’s tried every last brand of green tea
that’s to be found in Thailand, I couldn’t agree more!

After about two hours, we were finally in Lopburi.

Can you spot the chipmunks?

There were some, uh, eager monkeys out front, ready to greet us.
“Dude, what’s with the monkey nudity?
People bring their kids here!”

Gug and I decided to censor the monkey’s private bits…
…because, you know, this is a G-rated site.
(Wouldn’t want some kid to stumble across this and have his eyeballs fall out.)

Censoring the male monkey, however,

proved to be a slightly more arduous task.

So Gug and I had to call the other girls on over

to help cover him up, the poor thing.

The fields were gorgeous!

Dotted with little specks of yellow for as far as the eye could see.

Sunflowers are such friendly flowers.

So yellow and, uh, sunny.

Ton was especially smitten with the sunflowers.

He found one that was to his liking,
nd they even struck up a little conversation.

He tried to woo her with a few
of the many pick-up lines he had stored up his sleeve…

And gee, who would’ve thought, but it worked!
Aw golly, I think it’s love!

Ton, you mean bastard!
Apparently he was a little too rough with the poor thing.

Gug, Siri, Caro, me, Jup
Me and my lovely flowers.

Back: Kang, Siri, me, Caro, P’Geng, Matt
Front: Ton, Gug, Jup
The coolest, funnest people to take a road trip with.

Caro, me, Ton
It was coooold!
I had a jacket on, but still I was freezing.
The winds were awfully blustery that day, and since Lopburi’s a little north of Bangkok, the temperature managed to dip into the 60’s.
Of course, Caro and Ton, who were visiting from London and NYC respectively, thought the weather was a lovely change to the frigid winters back home.

I guess my arse is just a little too sunshine-spoiled?

No, your eyes are not deceiving you.
What you see atop Gug’s head most certainly is a…

Radio antenna.
Um, just. Don’t. Ask.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s Gug and her antenna!
There were some kites on sale, so we thought we’d give it a go.
It’s a good thing there wasn’t any lightening that day.
Can you imagine how big of a target Gug would have been,
what with both her antenna and kite?
(Maybe she was absent the day we learned about Ben Franklin
and his kite adventures back in middle school.)

Siri and Ton prepared the kite for lift-off.

But it kept nose-diving back to the ground.
“Fly, dammit. Fly!”

Ms. Kite Expert decided to give it a try.
Whilst kite-flying, we accidentally trampled on a couple sunflowers.
If any of you guys swing by Lopburi and notice that the flowers are
rather scarce this season, you’ll know why.

And off it went!

Gug and I fooled around with the elephant statue.
(Get your mind outta the gutter!)

Matt and Jup fooled around with the elephant, too.
We all took about a hundred photos with the elephant statue.
You’d think we’d never seen an elephant before or something.
We later had to tearfully pry ourselves away from it because a super long line of kids had begun to form behind us, and they were beginning to give us the evil eye for hogging the elephant for so long.

So the elephant statue was fake…
…but evidently the big pile of elephant poop laying nearby wasn’t.
This could only mean…

…that a real elephant was nearby!
You can’t quite see it here, but the elephant was crying.
I’m not talking moist eyes here; he was actually weeping
and tears were streaming out of his eyes.
Made us wonder if its owner had mistreated or abused him in the past.

Me, Caro, Gug, Jup, Siri
JUP: “What’s this basket for, anyways?”
MATT: “They light bonfires in it at night and use it
to burn all the people who’ve trampled on the sunflowers!”
Ooops, so guilty, guilty, guilty.

Yummy grapes for sale!
They were deliciously sweet and devoid of any sour aftertaste.

What can I say?
Antenna fever’s contagious, especially when they’re sunflower antennaes.

Ton and his seed… sunflower seeds, that is.
TON: “Anyone want some of my seed?”
What, no takers?

After browsing the souvenir stalls and taking a quick bathroom stop,
we hopped back into the van and continued on our way.

We passed a vineyard and decided to stop by
and take a quick look around.

The last time I saw a vineyard was last year…
…when we drove through the lush fields of Burgundy on our way to Dijon.
These vineyards weren’t as large as the ones I saw in France,
but they were just as picturesque.

I’d never seen hanging vines before.
They provided a nice respite from the sun.

Back: Kang, Gug, me, Siri, Ton
Front: Caro

We took a closer look at the grapes.

And upon further inspection,
noticed that some of them were a tad bit shriveled.

Raisins, anyone?
“This reminds me of that poem…”
LYNN: “You mean that poem by Langston Hughes?
The one about the dried up raisin and festering sore?”
(The fact that we can actually remember this
from 10th grade lit class is so, so sad.)

Monsoon Valley Wine
we decided to try some, since wine tasting was available.

“WTF? You call this crap wine?!”
BLECHH – it tasted thoroughly disgusting!
You could’ve poured me a glassful of alcohol antiseptic,
and it would’ve tasted exactly the same.
I don’t know, maybe it was just the one bottle that was bad,
but honestly, it tasted revolting.

Shot of grape juice, anyone?
Their grape juice, however, was divine!

Caro & me…
…enjoying the pretty view of the hills and vineyard fields
behind the visitor center.

Is this a sweet pic or what?
Jup spotted some pretty flowers on the side of the road.
According to her, 6-petalled flowers are hard to find.

Afterwards, we stopped by Chokchai Farm for some STEAK.
“Mmmm…!” said Lynn the Predacious Carnivore.
We so wanted to ride the ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles),
but unfortunately you had to book beforehand.
Maybe next time!

Chokchai Steakhouse was jam-packed with people.
Talk about damn good business.
Luckily we only had to wait in line for about 30 minutes.

Unfortunately there weren’t any large tables available,
so we got split up into two groups.

If Siri and I look kinda beat
it’s because we were soo full from our steak lunch, heh.
Afterwards, we tried some of their famous ice-cream from Umm!.. Milk.
Telling from the abundant slurping I heard in the van later on,
I think everyone else will agree with me when I say that it was tres delicieux.

After lunch, we hopped back into the van again
and continued on our way.
We’d originally intended to see the royal summer palace at Bang Pa-In,
but traffic was a killer, so we changed our plans.

We ended up at Bang Sai Royal Arts and Crafts Center instead,
a project under the royal patronage of HM Queen Sirikit.
She initiated this project 10 years ago
to preserve and promote traditional Thai handicrafts.

The place is set up to look like
a very quaint and picturesque traditional Thai village.

The village was filled with traditional Thai houses
from the various regions of Thailand.

This particular house was a replica of
a typical house from the South of Thailand.

Reading up on the history and description of traditional Thai houses.

What is it with Gug and knives?
I didn’t want to accidentally get stabbed again,
so I quickly skittered out of the kitchen to safety.

Ton, in his natural habitat.

I took a peek out the 2nd floor window
and spotted an odd red object with flailing arms…

Sans antenna this time around, though.

Not only does this boy attract coquette-ish sunflowers,
but slithering snakes, too!

Climbing the stairs of the
replica house from the Isan region of Thailand.

Princess Siriratana and her, um, chariot-lugging buffalo?

“Down with you, you worthless good-for-nothings!”
Gug the Conquerer came along and overthrew Princess Siriratana,
thus demoting us to buffalos.

Aw, so purdy.
Unfortunately, this picture spawned another one
of Gug’s marvelously great ideas…

Talk about the lamest of all lame-ass pics.
OK, it’s official.
I think we’ve finally hit an all-time fobby low with this one.

We got separated from the group momentarily
because Ton was too busy enthralling us with a ghost story.

If you want to hear the (true!) tale, ask him,
but let’s just say I’m gonna be avoiding taxis for a while now!

We later spotted the rest of the group
on the other side of the pond, feeding some fish.

Such a picturesque sunset!
We spent the end of the day fervently searching for the van.

But got distracted along the way and took some more photos.
How could we miss out on such a great photo-op moment?

Of course, we got a little lost along the way.
TON: “Don’t say lost. We’re not lost.”
LYNN: “OK, misdirected. We’re misdirected.”

Luckily, a really nice guy pitied us lost misdirected souls
and offered to give us a lift in his pick-up truck!

We were all so giddy to ride at the back.
I swear, we’re such fun-deprived kids.

A perfect sunset to end one heck of
a fun, scandalous monkey-filled day.


On a side note, today is Children’s Day here in Thailand. When I was younger, I used to think Children’s Day was such a cool concept; how Thai kids got a whole day all to themselves, much like mother’s or father’s day. When we lived in the States, my dad used to tell me all the time that Thais really respect and cherish children, but I never quite understood what he truly meant until we moved here. Like the Thai saying goes – “Children are the future of the nation” – if you raise your children with a firm and loving hand, then they will hopefully turn out to be strong and compassionate invidiuals in the future.

But despite the great amount of respect that Thai adults in general have for children, there still is a large handful of kids who are dealt a much crueler fate in life. This morning, while I was waiting at the traffic light at the Din Dang intersection, I saw two kids trying to sell flower garlands and newspapers to passing cars. The sad thing was that I recognized the two kids’ older sister, who must be around my age now. Since moving back here 10 years ago, I remember how I’d always see her weaving through the string of cars, selling flower garlands at that same intersection every single time I drove by. Ten years later – and ten years older – and she’s still selling flower garlands. While I understand that some poor families really need any extra cash they can get, kids shouldn’t have to work for a living like that any day, regardless of whether it’s Children’s day or not.

Meanwhile, Children’s Day is being downplayed a bit this year in light of the thousands of children who were affected by the tsunamis. Again, as a friendly reminder, if you haven’t donated already, please do.

Currently Playing: London Rain (Nothing Heals Me Like You Do) By Heather Nova. We will just overlook the fact that this song is on the nauseating Dawson’s Creek soundtrack. And we will also overlook the fact that I was once obsessed with said soundtrack and overemotional teenage television drama back in 10th grade. Oh, so embarrassing!

Currently Reading: Milkrun By Sarah Mlynowski

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