Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Earlier today I met up with Beth, as she had kindly agreed to take a day off so we could hang out.

A light breeze had slightly weakened the grip the smog had over the town and the air didn't feel as dense.

We agreed to go up to the Queen's Botanic Gardens, as this was the only out of town tourist attraction that interested us both and on her day off Beth fancied getting out of the smog. Neither of us wanted to visit the tiger or monkey centers. They're not rescue centres but tourist attractions where the animals are drugged so gullible tourists can touch them.

The Botanic Gardens were up in the nearby hills, in a lightly forested area, and they're really a mixture of slightly manicured gardens and indigenous vegetation with a small waterfall thrown in for good measure.

We decided to have a small lunch in their visitor centre and I was pleasently surprised. The spicy chicken and noodle soup was the only dish on the menu, but very nice it was indeed. It's fairly common in Thailand that some places specialize in one dish only.

After that early lunch we decided to take a walk to the top of the hill. However, as we were heading up, enjoying the views, we realised that although the map that we had been given was pretty, it was anything but useful.

We had no idea where we were nor how far away the top was, though it was clear that the place was bigger than we had thought. It wasn't our Liz's back garden in her house by the Mall. This Queen had a lot larger a place. And under the sweltering heat I also realised that it wasn't the right time to be out and about exercising. Mad dogs and Englishmen indeed.

However, and after passing some Australian bottle trees, we finally got to our destination and were treated to a great view over the valley...

There is also an interesting green house complex worth visiting with beautiful orchids, funny looking cactii and flowers and lotuses of impossibly bright colours.

Banana Tree with flower and small bananas...

Cactus? Or candy floss?

If you have time to spare and you're not into the usual tourist traps, or shooting, which is a tourist attraction here, or bungy jumping, this is an enjoyable thing to do.

On our way back we stopped at a local vegetable market that was just closing to get some produce for a small bbq we are having later on. I'm so looking forward to it.

There are so many different varieties of odd looking aubergines in this country, and some wonderfully intense colours...

In the meantime I am packing for my three day trek up into the mountains visiting hill tribes. I've researched this, looking for an organized group that won't treat the people as exhibition pieces in a hall, and I'm hoping I've chosen the right one.

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