#Phetburi #Thailand: City without Tuk-tuks, Heat without mercy

Phetburi, Temple City

Phetburi, Temple City

May, 2014–Phet(cha)buri (two pronunciations possible) just may be Thailand’s best-kept secret, something of a ‘temple city’ like Angkor Wat and all the other great Southeast Asian ruins, religion the impetus for great works of art and architecture, the best of them on top of mountains, above the swampy furnace that pre-heats all rice before actually cooking…

Imagine enough temples to rival Luang Prabang only three hours by slow train from Bangkok, barely clear of the city’s smog when you hit the interior’s heat, unmitigated by air condition nor life with conditions, just a slow grudging acceptance of it as it is, harsh yet simple, unforgiving yet entertaining, grab the goods while you can lest the sun set on your empty belly…

Phetburi: Temple on the Hill

Phetburi: Temple on the Hill

The temple monkeys all know that, don’t dare show your lunch to them, or they’ll snatch it when your back’s turned, or maybe just bluff and feint, scare you into dropping your guard, dropping your sandwich, grab your bologna while you flee for your life, grab your soft drink while you flee with your dignity intact…

The tuk-tuk drivers all know that, the few of them that there are, asking three bucks US for what I can walk in fifteen minutes, wouldn’t do that in New York London Rome or Vientiane, so don’t know why I should do it here, especially for a collective, might take a half hour to get there, so just walk it and get my exercise at the same time, check in to my hostel dripping with sweat, me not the hostel, fan no air with conditions…

The young lady at the national museum at the temple on top of the hill, knows that, closing the gap between us as soon as she hears I’m alone, as soon as she hears I’m undone, as soon as she hears me cracking jokes in her language cracking wise and cracking up, good enough for government work, good enough to draw interest, on principal, as a matter of principle, the old magic still there, Thailand’s not mine, of course…

Phetburi: Room with a View

Phetburi: Room with a View

She stands there waiting, for me to make the first move, for the first date, for the marriage, for the kids, for the brick house in the far lane, for the insurance for the house with the furniture the garden the cupboard full of dishes the carport with car with stereo HiFi WiFi Panasonic electronic masturbionic simulator stimulator hooked to your forehead and foreskin, but it ain’t gonna happen, not in this lifetime…

Food consists of standard Thai favorites, central-Thailand-style, similar things now available worldwide, still good enough for me hot wet curries and things without names lots of sugar and spice and everything nice, goes down without prejudice, without malice, only repercussions those of the intestinal kind; that’s what sticky rice is for, even here in the central region, not nearly north, almost south to be sure, but not quite, that comes next… next stop is Prachuap Khiri Khan…

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