Lumpini Monitors

Monitoring the monitors at Lumpini Park.
Monitoring the monitors at Lumpini Park.

After returning to Bangkok บางกอก across the border from Myanmar, I had planned on heading North, possibly to Chiang Mai เชียงใหม่, to do some more exploring, but instead, came down with severe Tonsillitis that rendered me effectively out of action for over a week, and tied down to the former city. The furthest I wandered during that time was to the local FamilyMart just 5 minutes walk away, only to return my hostel and collapse in a hazy fug of fever and throat pain.

 

When the fever broke, and my tonsils shrank and went their proper colour again (pus-white is not a good look), I took a tentative stroll out to Lumpini Park สวนลุมพินี, still reeling from that odd, disconnected malaise you often get after being badly ill; and spent an afternoon watching the many Water Monitors who’ve taken up residence there through my dulled senses.

One of the Lumpini Water Monitors tasting the air.
One of the Lumpini Water Monitors tasting the air.

The lizards do particularly well in Lumpini – surviving on any smaller animals they can find – fish, eels, tortoises, birds, even each other in a pinch – so well in fact, that their excessive breeding recently proved cause for concern, resulting in the removal and relocation of a significant chunk of the population into the Thai countryside. Though there have been no known instances of them attacking humans, some locals see them as a nuisance – possibly as a hangover from times past when they were known to invade homes in search of food, and interestingly enough, their name in Thai – เหี้ย (pronounced ‘He-uh’) also doubles as profanity meaning ‘bad person’, and is possibly derived from the Pali word for vagina – the more you know.

Using the pipe as a barrier, this fish was corralled into the narrow section where it meets land. There was no escape.
Using the pipe as a barrier, this fish was corralled into the narrow section where it meets land. There was no escape.
A monitor swallows his prey whole, scattering scales everywhere in doing so.
A monitor swallows his prey whole, scattering scales everywhere in doing so.

I felt a little better after watching these modern dinosaurs for a while, even getting to see one hunt a large fish, which was then subsequently swallowed whole. This reminded me that I was craving food too, and so I set off in search of my own sustenance. In my daze I don’t even remember what I had, probably something cheap and nasty from a convenience store. It definitely wasn’t fish though.

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