Off-shore Adventures

Two go boating in Lumpini Park.

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.)

Lumpini Park, Bangkok.

Watering the trees, Thai style, Lumpini Park, Bangkok

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.

Bangkok skyline, Lumpini Park

If you look carefully at the photo below you’ll see John and me preparing to embark.

Lumpini Park, Bangkok.

Boating on the lake at Lumpini Park, Bangkok

I wish I could say the only problem was the persistent photo bombing by the duck.

Photo bombing, Thai style

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.

Monitor Lizard, Lumpini Park, Bangkok.

That’s a lizard, a big one, Lumpini Park, Bangkok

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.

Monitor lizard and turtle, Lumpini Park, Bangkok.

Actually, this little turtle photo bombed, too. But I was thrilled to see he was there. Lumpini Park, Bangkok.

And luckily for the turtle in this photo the lizard had his eye on something else for his dinner. No accounting for taste, right?

Inspired by:

Ailsa’s travel theme: Mellow

and the WordPress Photo challenge: Creepy

25 replies »

  1. I never knew about this park in Bangkok, I wish I had when I visited many years ago as I found the heat and humidity and smog unbearable. Thanks for spotting the bench for me in your photo. A very pretty bench 🙂 You do seem to have eventful birthdays!

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  2. Tandem bicycling as a “trust exercise” – love it!

    Thank you also for the photo of the monitor lizard, which makes it unequivocal that I will not be going to that lake. 😉

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    • I’d have been a lot more cautious about getting in that duck if I’d realised those lizards hung out in the lake, too, Elizabeth. Ignorance isn’t exactly bliss, but it’s definitely lower stress.

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  3. I love to come to your posts for a chuckle Jill. I could imagine the conversations between you 2, probably very similar to the ones Jack and I had in a double canoe with me at the front, our coordination was pathetic and we were zigzagging all over. Actually we were paddling across from Takapuna Beach to Rangitoto Island and there were a lot of ferries and BIG boats to avoid in the main shipping channel. We got there eventually, but then after 2 hours walking up Rangitoto we had to paddle back… and it was getting dark!!!!! We were way behind everyone else in the group and the group leader took pity on us and came back to attach his canoe to ours and help with a pull… I’d forgotten this episode and your post brought it all flooding back in lurid detail…
    (We also love Bangkok and it is so sad what happened today.)

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    • Most travellers either love or hate Bangkok. And I’m in the love it group, too! I have had some amazing times in Bangkok and Thailand. This morning’s news (NZ time) was terribly upsetting and disappointing. I’ve passed through that intersection many times. Sadly, Thailand is plagued by tensions which they just don’t seem to be able to resolve – at least, not yet.

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  4. Loved this story, Jill… You had me giggling even before *you* giggled in the boat. True, Bangkok wouldn’t be my go-to definition of “mellow”, but you’ve opened my eyes to possibilities 😉 I’ll be smiling the rest of the day thinking of this — thanks!

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    • Hi there Guilie,
      Where ever I am in the world, I like hunting out “mellow” places that are well off the beaten track. Sadly, after the terrible events of last night Bangkok must now be very tense.

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  5. Terrific post. Love getting to see the park and the skyline of Bangkok. Could relate to the paddle-boat steering challenge. And the touch of danger definitely spiced it up. Great fun. Loved it.

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    • Hi Eileen, It was a fun day. And I remember it with great pleasure. It’s always good to know that you’ve enjoyed reading my posts.

      Sadly, last night’s attack has taken the tensions in Bangkok to a new and terrible level.

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  6. What a fun story, Jill!

    We took one of those leisurely-looking paddle boats out once. ONCE being the operative word ! My knees were killing me by the time we pedaled back to the dock! And I didn’t even have loch ness lizards or microbes in the water to worry about.

    I’ve often said riding a tandem bike would be a good way to test compatibility before marriage. If we’d done so, we would have never married (or at least we’d have known not to ride a tandem bike again 😀), now I’m going to add paddle boats to that marriage test.

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    • Those paddle boats take a lot more energy to move that it looks, don’t they, Sammy. We were so pooped from the exertion we actually returned ours early. It was nothing to do with that lizard, or the power struggle between you know who and you know who else – it really, really wasn’t, cos I tell the truth on this blog .

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  7. I’m not sure I would want to be sharing a lake with that lizard in a boat made to look like dinner, I mean a duck. Great photos and a fun story. the perfect fit for a Monday morning.

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