Walking with tigers

After having walked with and cuddled lions in both South Africa and Zimbabwe, the next step up can only be to walk with tigers. Oh wait, that’s exactly what you can do, just 40km out of Kanchanaburi, at the tiger temple. Only some 8 years back, a lone monk started to care for a nearly dead tiger cub and now, not only plenty tigers, but also deer, boar, buffalo and then some roam the grounds, all as in a perfect Eden. Well, almost. The tigers are mostly on chains or lines and, mostly teenage, caretakers are always nearby. Still, it’s quite impressive to hug the head of a mature tiger and walk away with all your limbs still on your body and intact.

We also stopped at the nearby Prasat Meuang Singh Historical Park, ruins of a 13th century Khmer (Cambodian) outpost. Interesting, and worth visiting if you’re in the area, but not too impressive in its own right.
Shortly before arriving at the park’s entrance, we ran a flat, driving around on a hired scooter. The roads are good, but trying to find a bike repair shop in the middle of nowhere can be a challenge. But luckily, a tiny, with the emphasis on tiny, angel came to help us. I drove his bike with him behind me and Betsy slowly slowly drove on ours, with the flat tyre. A few kilometers on a side-road, the mini-man directed us to a bike repair shop where, within minutes, the mechanic had the inner tube replaced. Some waiing (giving thanks with the hands in prayer mode) later, we were off again, back towards the park.

Related:  En route to the old capital of Siam

On the outskirts of Kanchanaburi, there’s a real mall. Bangkok is full of them and Chiang Mai also has a few, but Kanchanaburi is rather tiny. Not tiny enough, or so it seems, as the huge sculpted dragon on the road side invited every passerby to come over and have a good time.
Or so it seemed. The Castle Mall was an urban ruin, except for one small corner where a hot pot restaurant still operated. Beneath the mall, the covered garage had been turned into a huge impromptu furniture store.

Above the front entrance of the mall, a small, circular, bulbous mirror reflected the world outside. I’ve seen this decoration on several houses in the area, but don’t understand what it means.

Likewise, wats (temples) in the area tend to have one building with a tall, narrow, chimney like tower on it. No idea why.