Teaching English in Thailand, Traveling, Bone-Dry Humor, Other Stuff Too



Sakow Circle in Lopburi


How can I best describe the city I live in?

It’s like a highway. Lopburi is made up of a “new town” and an “old town,” connected by a major, six-lane highway that runs through the city and is constantly flowing with traffic. I live in new town, where basically everything is built along the sides of this highway. There are sidewalks on both sides, but nobody except me and some other foreign teachers ever walk there, and understandably nobody really cares when the sidewalk gets overgrown or blocked off by broken fences and random debris. I walk out from my street, passing a few scrap yards and a big sinister place that does something with garbage, and I can turn right or left along the highway, which are really the only two ways to go and the only ways to get anywhere. In this area there are a few restaurants and some small stores, but mainly there a ridiculous number of auto mechanics and used furniture things. My apartment is between two malls, both of which are called Big C Supercenter. I love Big C. One is huge, so people call it Big Big C, while the other is Little Big C, or just Big C. I enjoy this very much. The other day I walked into a convenience store and realized it was a Big C Mini. So naturally I’m looking for Big C XXL’s and Medium Big C’s. That’s most of what there is to see in new town. On a long walk to somewhere else, one can enjoy views of white dogs, brown dogs, mangy hairless dogs, dead dogs, dead birds, dead lizards, fallen telephone wiring, and shirtless Thai mechanics welding to loud music.


King Narai statue in a traffic circle near my school




Old Town is kind of like a real place. It’s not that far away, but they’ve got some streets that are perpendicular to the highway that don’t only lead to warehouses, shacks, and giant puddles–unlike new town. There are a lot of old temples, one of which has been taken over by hundreds of monkeys. If you go there, they will run around you and eventually climb all over you. Inside the temple, small bats hang from the ceiling.



This monkey is discovering the power of the written word



Near old town there are also many more night markets to find good street food, and the atmosphere is fun. There are bars, monkeys walking casually down the street, motorbikes everywhere, all kinds of restaurants, and a lot of different things going on. The good news is, it’s only a short ride away on a soong tau (literally “two rows”). A soong tau is a truck with two rows of bench in the bed, a bunch of railing to hold onto, and a standing area, so that it can carry passengers around. You just walk out to the highway, and wait for one to pull over, and it’s super cheap, roughly 25 cents per ride. The bad news is that the soong taus stop at 8:00 p.m., so I’m always trying to plan around this, or else the only choice is a motor taxi that costs a lot more.

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