My trip to South Africa was more of a time-travel as I was visiting a friend from long ago, hence this time I did not experience awesome wildlife and exoticism etc. but I think I will make up for it next time I visit this country:)

This time, though, while in SA (Hibiscus Coast and around Cape Town mostly) I managed to spot some semi-exotic and semi-wild wildlife – deers of all sorts, monkeys, seals and penguins… And I also met some interesting people – stoned and talkative employees and guests of a hostel in Cape Town, buskers, small time crooks and muggers, a Polish priest, Mrs Irena (aged 90+) with lots of stories about her soviet era deportation, I was lucky enough to take part in Zulu wedding (I was called as an emergency cameraman as the local “videofilming” company failed to deliver)… All in all, a fruitful trip, with lots of things to think about, especially regarding interracial…

Another stop on the way is Lopburi – a little town where you can stop for a day, not necessarily longer than that. There is a couple of wats to be found here but it’s not them who make the biggest tourist attraction. The most important are the macaques. They have taken over Wat Phra Prang Sam Yot temple and the streets around. In theory, the monkey problem could be dealt with easily but the Thais – real Buddhists – don’t want to harm the animals so they just put grids over the windows, drive the monkeys away with sticks, shoot them with catapults (they never actually aim at the animals)… All in vain, the monkey invasion continues…

I happened to witness a celebration in memory of former local ruler, founder of the biggest temple in the town – Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat. First the local students painted religious images on a very long roll of canvas,…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9UPf4JLmmk

80 kilometres north from Bangkok, only 2 hours away by train (+scheduled delay), this is the former capital city, ransacked by Burmese army in 1767. And ever since the city has not recovered. Though quite big in size, Ayutthaya feels very provincial and tourist come here mostly to see the ruins of former Siam capital. One of the tourists also arrives here to sped the New Year’s Eve. And – accidentally – gets invited to a neighbourhood party. Though our communication options are quite limited, me and my hosts go along very well, especially when it comes to tasting local whisky and snacks. We watch artistic-karaoke performances taking place on the stage put up together by neighbours – the folk-pop tunes make us drown into nostalgia, the state that I have to get out of in order to make it back to my hostel (B.J’s, 120 baht a for a room). The host wants to offer…

Thailand is as easy as it gets. No matter what kind of tourist attractions you are looking for – you will find an abundance of them here. Heading for paradise-like beaches and diving locations? The whole coast is filled with beaches, full of boutique resorts, cheap hotels and bungalows, with troops of Western faces around. So you don’t like the sea? How about a “unique” trek through jungle-covered mountains then? Here you have it – every single hostel can offer a 1-, 2-, 3-, x- day trek. And on the way they will teach you how to make palm-leaf bungalow, bamboo pot, coconut slippers. Or would you rather visit some temples? You’ll be exhausted before you see just a small bit of what Thailand has to offer temple-wise. Or are you a culinary traveller? That’s perfect – here is the country of many flavours, varying from one region to the other (but always spicy!). Still not happy? How…