April 4 2006

This time we set out into the streets and flagged down a songthaew (meaning literally 'two rows' as in the bench seats in the back of the small van) to the Chiang Mai Zoo a little way up Doi Suthep.

It's a pleasant (or even pheasant) zoo. The animals are mainly in large enclosures and many like deer and goats run almost wild in reserves that the visitor can traverse via raised walkways. Trouble is that on a hot day few of them are as daft as the visitors and most of them just loll. So we recommend this zoo very highly if you want to walk your legs down to the knees while looking at lolling animals in pleasant surroundings on a baking hot day. It keeps stuffed dogs happy anyway.

Here are assorted uninspiring pics.

It's hot in them thar hills ...

The pride and joy the main attraction the thing that keeps the visitors and the money coming in and allows the zoo to continue its study and conservation work and all that is of course the giant panda enclosure. It does contain pandas which were a gift from China. It costs extra to get into. Fifty baht for Thais and 100 for farang. I found a website where an expat tells proudly how he managed to convince them on principle to let him in for the local rate after taking a language test. Come on. It's less than two quid. And well worth it (the puppy tells us).

I always thought that giant pandas were the one creature that casts doubt on evolution. How does any animal evolve to look like a cuddly toy? Then again what intelligent designer would make one?

In fact the giant panda is the only entire species ever to convert to the same religion. A naturally carnivorous animal has actually put its whole existence at risk by turning to devout Buddhism and attempting to live on bamboo rather than go on killing small animals.

Or so the puppy tells us. Personally I think he's off his tiny stuffed head.

Back to the hotel after a burger for reasons unknown but time will tell at the kiosk and pack up and go. A delicious snack at the railway station buffet. Oh why oh why the chilled sarnies and awful tasteless snack of the British network when a wonderful wizened woman can cook up some chicken and rice in minutes for a quid?

Our carriage awaits.

First class sleeper to Bangkok ~ 20

Celestial Nymph to travel with ~ priceless!

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here to go back a day ...

or here to go back to the start

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