Last Weds (10th) was a random mid-week day off, for Constitution Day apparently. For me it meant having Emily to visit and going out and about. First of all we bussed to Phra Phutthabat on the outskirts of Saraburi (near the market with the nice coconut cakes!) It's my third visit now, but I like it there, and see something new everytime. Luckily we pulled out our ajarn IDs and didn't need to pay an entry price like other foreigners, perks! After my compulsory purchase of coconut cakes we headed back to the bus stop to head to our next destination. Had to manouver our way to it through a hoard of motorcycle taxi drivers shouting 'you you you' at us.
Our plan was to go to the sunflower fields, which are the biggest in Thailand and bloom every Dec and Jan. It was a bit of a mission as we were dropped at the side of the road and told to wait for another local bus which, when it came and we pointed out the unpronouncable Thai word for sunflower fields, wanted to charge us about 26b each... this isn't a lot of money, but the point was that the price equated with about a 30km journey which was a bit extreme to see some flowers when we were sure they weren't that far away. Kept asking (in Thai) 'how far is it' to which they kept giving us the answer of how much it was. After five minutes of this volleying of right questions and wrong answers and not getting anywhere we spotted lots of sunflowers down a side-road out the window so decided to get off there. And there were thousands of them, some were starting to droop and look a bit sad because it was early afternoon but we found some pretty perky ones. Stopped for a spot of lunch - yummy noodle soup with what I think were fish balls!
From there we bussed into Lopburi for some monkey fun. And boy did they have fun... stealing food, climbing up my legs and on my back, hanging off my bag, one little w*** did a crazy somersault onto my arm and swiped my camera out my hand but swiftly dropped it when I let out a huge girly scream. The girly screams happened quite frequently, which I think is excusable when a monkey thinking he's Tom Cruise in MI jumps out of what appears to be the sky and lands on your shoulder.
Having had enough of being molested by monkeys, and having cooed more than enough at the teeny baby ones we headed back to Saraburi. Having had very little luck with buses that day as it was, the one on the way home typically crashed... not badly, just a bit of a jolt, which meant we had to hang around for another one to turn up. Got to the bus station around 6.30, only to be told that there was no bus back to the province near where Emily lives. Another similar experience of asking when the bus to Prachin Buri was, and getting the answer 'Chon Buri Chon Buri Chon Buri' and pointing at the bus to a completely different place. With the help of a friendly English-speaking local discovered that the last bus back had been at 3pm, which is somewhat ridiculous considering they are two major central provinces. Then we discovered that the next bus was at midnight, which would get her to the province around 2am, but then there'd be no way to get the 40km from there to her town. So the only alternative was to get the 6am bus leaving on Thurs morning. Some nice friendly locals (with kids at my school) gave us a ride back in the opposite direction to where they live to my apt.
Had some pad thai and pastry things... thought I'd got one with spinach but I shouldn't have been so easily fooled by appearance as obviously it ended up being sweet and it was in fact some kind of green jam filling. Were all tucked up by 9.30 ready for the alarm to go off at 5am! FIVE AM! I like to praise my good hostess behaviour in walking Emily back across to the other side of town to get the bus at FIVE AM! Actually, it was an amazing walk. Emily was sat on the bus by just gone half five so I mooched slowly home to appreciate all the things I normally miss, having never been out at this time... like walking through the still dark early morning market in between the clouds of smoke from breakfast street vendors, and the monks doing their alms route which almost had an air of the magical about it, just seeing these snippets of bright orange up little side-roads and weaving between stalls. I was thinking about staying up to watch the sun rise over the river, but decided I'd prefer another hour in bed.
Had an awful day at school that Thurs as was covering the nightmare P2 class for three solid hours, first thing as well. The day went from bad to worse and I broke my third nail that week! I was at the girls' orphanage and was hit by a stray flat basketball wallopping my head and then falling onto the hand I'd put up in shock. Typically it landed on my right hand thumb nail which was v long, and not the left one which was all short having broken it earlier in the week. Gory details: the broken bit of nail didn't fully come off but gouged itself partly under the remaining bit of nail. There was blood. And the first thing I said... not 'owww' but 'oyyy': you can tell I've been in Thailand a while! So there I am being crowded over to the nurse by a group of ten little girls. I felt like I was at school again sitting on a teeny chair and having it all bandaged up. Now the moral of the story could well be 'don't have long nails', but I'd rather think of it as 'don't play basketball.' There goes my Sports Day role as basketball coach out the window!