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After my piss – drinking near miss of a day, I was ready to do some serious chill. I woke up in my snow white double bed, AC on full blast and appreciated those two things so completely that for a while I felt utter contentment. When I did get up it was because of the tempting smell of chicken soup drifting into my room from the kitchen outside. I had planned on a day of reading and Jessica Jones catchup, but the hotel owner had other ideas. Ploy was a lovely lady, a psychiatric nurse with dreams of saving enough money to do a big Euro trip. With matronly encouragement, she roused me from my sleepy state and insisted on taking me to what she described as ‘The best temple in Thailand’. Now we are in the middle of nowhere here, right in the mountains and I could not find a single mention of any recommended sights in the area, let alone such a lofty claim, so my cynical mind immediately called bullshit. Thailand has a shit ton of temples, nice ones too. Was Ploy really playing Billy Bullshitter, or could I have stumbled across a diamond temple in the rough?
I decided to give ol’ Ploy a chance, cause she was nice, smelt of flowers, and especially as she offered to drive and I wasn’t having to cycle anywhere- my bum was redder than a spanked baboon after the previous day’s adventures.
As we ascended the steep winding road, the first thing I noticed was just how beautiful mountains look in the morning. Sunlight streamed through whispy white clouds that littered the sunrise, and I realised how often I forget to stop and stare when missioning from place to place. The next thing I noticed was the big old buddha perched on the edge of a cliff, replicated a dozen times in diminishing scale in front of it like enlightened Russian dolls. Everything was made of bright white stone, and by the time we got up close it was all so reflective and bright that I could barely open my eyes.
As amazing a sight as it was however, the temple that Ploy was referring me to was next door. The towering structure seemed to reflect a thousand colours and patterns. Inspired by Gaudi’s famous park in Barcelona, the temple was a staggering mosaic of coloured glass, fine gold leafed ornaments and hand painted china bowls, 10 years in the making. Every inch of the huge building was a unique work of art, and barely a soul was at the place. I was hooked, walking round for hours, trying to explore all the secret spots. Eventually I got to a half closed gate, with a sign I assumed to mean a generic ‘no entry’. But like most travellers, I suffer acutely from the Eve complex- if there’s something I’m not allowed to do, or not allowed to go, it must be the best thing ever and I have to do it, right now.
As I trotted merrily down the path towards a pretty little duck pond, I had the distinct and unnerving feeling of two beady little eyes following me. I stopped and turned abruptly, but there was nothing but ducks and a curious little blue bird. The bird had long claws on the edge of gangly stick legs and has been silently stalking after me. As I approached it, it stood it’s ground whilst he ducks quacked off into the water, half turning it’s head passively to keep one eye on me. Something about this unperturbed animal creeped the shit out of me, so I started my retreat back up the path. I’d gotten about 10 steps away when I heard the ticker-tapper of long claws accelerating up towards me- the little bastard was charging me! When I spun around the devil bird made a quick halt before turning and strutting off, all self-congratulatory like the king of the castle or something.  I spent the rest of the afternoon under the relative safety of the Buddha statue.

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