Thailand Days 17 and 18

Back to Bangkok

On the train again at 5pm today but we are less certain that it will leave on time and our lovely bus driver has offered to pick us up from an earlier stop so we can check out some things on the way into Bangkok.
Firstly we  off to the markets where the Thai people go. There are many relatives working here of our tour guide and Aussie Thai friend. They  insist on giving us a try of their food, one running off to especially prepare sticky rice with mango. I try some sticky rice that has a banana in the centre, then it is wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. It is very delicious. We see large metal pots with varieties of curry pastes that is made to sell daily, every kind of fruit and vegetable available and meat being prepared for sale. The butchers seem to be mainly female chopping up red meat, pork and chicken while others deal with the intestines, hearts and livers. It is quite a production but with the heat, flies and open air you have to wonder how people don’t get sick. I am told it is due to being brought
up being exposed to the food right from the start. We come back to the ‘family’ and try the sticky rice and mango. It is very nice and we tell them Lum Ma Ma The The, Very, Very good – excellent and they are all so happy. We get some extra for our train trip and have to force them to take the money until someone says I am very rich because I am married to a bank manager – lol I wish!
Surprise, surprise our train starts off on time but then that means we will have to get up at 4 to get off at our stop. The conductor has told us he will wake us half an hour before our stop but no- one really trusts him. We wake up and get dressed only to find that the train is late by 2 hours! I wish we had trusted him 2 hours extra sleep would have been lovely.
Our driver is happy to see us and is delighted to show us around his part of the country, Lopburi.  We are in monkey city at the ancient ruins. These are the same age as in Chang Mai some 700 years old. There are monkeys everywhere and I truly don’t know how the town people cope. Apparently they helped the monks at some point in history so are treated well.
We head to a temple, Ban Puk Bang, with a slightly smaller gold statue of a Buddha hidden in the same way by covering it in a plaster type substance so the Burmese people wouldn’t melt it down and take it back to their own country.
Some of group are practising Buddhists and we are welcomed to sit with the monk while they interact with prayers and blessings. The names of relatives gone before are written down and put in an envelope with money which the monk will then speak their names and give blessings. The gifts are placed on a piece of cloth and passed to the monk – no direct giving or touching. This is one of the poorer temples so we give some extra money put into flowers.
We have breakfast on a floating restaurant but many do not join in preferring some water melon instead. I have some mild spicy chicken with basil but it really doesn’t feel like breakfast.
Off to Bangkok and our familiar BU place – only 2 sleeps now.
4 of us decide to try the restaurant at BU Place but it is a big disappointment and I would not recommend it

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