Saturday, June 10, 2006

Million Year Stone Park

I figured it would be fun to take Pot to the Million Year Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm today. I took along Pui and Go as well... but the visit was mostly for Pot's sake. It's more fun as an adult to go to things like this with a kid than with other adults.

The park is a combination (small) gardens and (small) zoo... with a big pile of crocodiles to boot. (If you have been to Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, it is pretty much the same selection, but only 5 km away from Pattaya instead of 30.

They usually charge more for farangs than for Thai people, but I had Pui buy the tickets while Pot and I were off looking at pictures, and therefore I didn't have to pay farang price.

So after a quick walk through the gardens, we found ourself on a walkway over thousands of crocodiles. I played on throwing Pot to the crocodiles, but he was already pretty uptight about the creatures, and didn't need any additional playing around to add to that. We bought some chicken parts and threw them to the crocodiles, who happily snapped and leapt and slithered as the meat fell around them.

After that, we went to a crocodile show where two guys basically teased sleeping/torporific crocodiles for 20 minutes or so. Of course, the grand finale was one of the guys sticking his head in the crocodile's mouth. Pot was moderately impressed, but was inpatient to see the monkeys.

Unfortunately, and much to my surprise (and much unlike Sri Racha Tiger Zoo), this place had no monkeys at all. (In a country where monkeys are as prolific as squirrels, that's strange.) Pot wasn't too happy, but he was appeased by feeding the elephants bananas.

Pot was kind of odd though: I asked him if he wanted to sit on the baby elephant, and he just said no. Not a scared "no"... just not interested. I asked him if he wanted to pet the tiger. "No thanks." He just didn't find such a thing worthwhile. (It was probably just as well that he didn't want to pet the tiger, because if a tiger is anything like a cat, that tiger was giving Pot the eye like he was looking mighty tasty.)

Pot found it all perfectly interesting, and watched the animals like he really was enjoying himself, but when offered to get up close and personal with stuff, he just politely took a pass.

We had lunch at the restaurant, which actually services a fair quantity of crocodile dishes. After the fact, I realized that it probably would have been worth the $13 to have the crocodile steak, just to try it out... but the initial gut reaction was "$13? Nah." Where else on earth are you going to find crocodile steak for that price?

Finally, we went and saw the giant catfish. I had reminded myself earlier to stick my hand into the photos to give a perspective so that you could see the size of these things, but I forgot. So I put in this circle in the photo around one of the smaller nearby fish... about 8 inches long or so. The catfish are 220 pounds (100 kg), 6½ feet long (2 meters), and 20 years old (I don't know what that is in metric years).

Anyway, they also had some camels, miniature ponies, a large collection of tropical birds, lots and lots more crocodiles, deer, .... oh... and a surprisingly large collection of Asian bears as well.

... but no monkeys.

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