When Ailsa announced this week”s travel theme, it’s mellow, I thought immediately of Bangkok. Because that mega city and mellow, they go together like sticky rice and mango or snorkeling and coral, right?
You’re not convinced? What if I mentioned Lumpini Park, 57 hectares of green lung which keeps Bangkok breathable – on a smogless day.
By chance I celebrated my most recent birthday in Bangkok. My birthday, my choice of where to go and what to do. Two years previously we celebrated in one of the best party spots in Bangkok : the Moon Bar. Yep, me 61 floors up in the sky, dining al fresco. I won’t share the photos: my smile is a teeny bit too fixed, my eyes rather too bulging, and the humidity did nothing for my carefully coiffed hair! You guessed it, I may not have been 100% relaxed. But it was fun and I was with my special people.
This time around, less than twenty-four hours after a long haul flight, where better to recharge than Lumpini Park. There are trees! Although seeking shade at watering time can be a wet experience. (Jude, there’s a bench, but alas it’s not very colourful.)
There’s grass. Shade. Wild life.
And you can paddle a duck! Yep, you read that right. Doesn’t it look relaxing? As if the paddle boats are gliding across the smooth waters of the lake. No crowds, either.
If you look carefully at the photo below you’ll see John and me preparing to embark.
I wish I could say the only problem was the persistent photo bombing by the duck.
No. It turns out paddling these boats takes effort. Quite a bit of effort. And coordination. And communication with one’s partner.
Declaring (no shouting involved, there were other people on the lake) Go this way! didn’t quite work, especially when he was already going the other way.
Getting the giggles didn’t help, either. Although they didn’t last long. Because, too much giggling can lead to toppling. And the mere thought of that reminded me of instructions from our son on an earlier visit : If you fall in go straight to the hospital. Do not wait to see if you are all right. Just go. He was talking about the canals in Bangkok. Because there, water plus microbes equals bacteria equals infection. I have no idea whether the same rules apply for the lake in Lumpini Park but logic says more than likely.
Giggles accordingly stifled and replaced by earnest paddling. And further instructions.
My birthday, I reminded John. We go where I say.
This was not going to a repeat of the tandem bike experience on the Golden Gate bridge. That might have been a few years ago, but it’s indelibly etched into my brain. And not because of the view. Oh, no, it wasn’t that. The problem, my friends, was being the one at the rear of the bike. The one who couldn’t see a thing. The one who had to go where the leader decided, at the speed the leader said. Some might call it a “trust exercise”.
We flew home that same day, seated next to each other for eleven hours, so no harm done … I guess.
But this time around, at Lumpini Park, my birthday, my rules. I only needed to say this once, or thrice.
And we did go where I said, more or less. We got up close, but not too close, to a fountain, to a bridge, and we managed to stay away from the other paddlers
I even waved decorously at our son who was waiting on the lake shore. Until, I realised he was waving and pointing frantically. At this.
if you think it’s a log, you are wrong. It’s a lizard! A monitor lizard. They’re about the size of a teenage crocodile. In other words: too big to be friendly!
Luckily he was headed towards the shore.
And luckily for the turtle in this photo the lizard had his eye on something else for his dinner. No accounting for taste, right?
Ailsa’s travel theme: Mellow