Monkeying Around in Lop Buri

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Lop Buri is along the way from Ayuthaya to Sukhothai. Even though it was at one point in history a provincial power, it is easily missed on the long train ride. The bigger concentrations of temples are found in Ayuthaya and Sukhothai. However, it does have one thing going for it: monkeys.

We got out of the train in the sweltering noon sun. We started our walking circuit. We visited some temples and the palace complex. This made for an interesting and leisure yet unexceptional few hours.

We continued walking when a monkey ran across the street. This is what we came to see. However, what we ended up seeing blew our minds. At first, a few monkeys were running around the rooftops of a market. They were playing around on the power lines. Then, as we walked, more monkeys. Some were sitting on the sidewalk. Others were jumping around cars. Many more were relaxing on balconies or fighting on the power lines. One was literally ripping apart a pickup truck parked on the street. None of the locals batted an eye.

Eventually we came to the Prang Sam Yot temple. Monkeys were everywhere. They were on the ruins, around the ruins, on the fence, and even on top of the tourists who came to see the temple and the monkeys. The only place they were not was inside of the temple itself, and this was only due to the guard with a long anti-monkey stick. It was both amusing and scary to walk around the temple grounds. As soon as one jumped on my back and climbed on my head, I remembered my past experience with the fierce macaques in Bali and hid my glasses in my pocket. The monkey was surprised at sudden lack of my glasses and inquisitively massaged my head trying to find out where they went. Taking pictures was a tricky endeavor. On the one hand, you wanted to get in close and concentrate on getting a good shot. On the other hand, you had to constantly watch your back to see if a sneaky monkey was not getting ready to jump on you and snatch your camera or simply crawl around on your back. All in all, it was an intense, amusing, and very unique experience.

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