9 February 2013

Backtracking

Backtracking to last weekend... Again, it was good to get out of the city into green countryside on the edge of the jungle. At the Khao Yai sister school there are only one hundred and two pupils but twenty seven teachers and of course an army of ancillary Thai workers. A fifty metre swimming pool, a huge sports hall, a canteen that could cater for a battalion of soldiers and three tennis courts. It really is a crazy world. The ex-pat staff who live and work up there, three hours from Bangkok, must be exceedingly bored much of the time. It wouldn't be for me.

The highlight of last weekend was visiting two bat caves. The first one was located adjacent to a Buddhist temple and we had to descend a treacherous concrete staircase to the limestone caverns below. There as well as hundreds of roosting bats we saw little sanctuaries, altars to the Buddha and several small but amazing cave-dwelling creatures that feed on the bats' droppings.

Later, at dusk, our little tour party stood in the fields beneath the opening to a famous bat cave. And then the bats began to appear as if belched from the Earth. Their destination was the nearby jungle to feast on insects and fruit. They left like a plume of smoke, undulating towards the far horizons. I am not a mathmetician but I estimate there were well over a million bats and as they flew overhead they made a noise like ocean waves...
Giant centipede which feeds on bat guano.
Deep in the limestone cavern - a Buddha sits peacefully in the lotus position.
Not easy to take good pictures at dusk but if you look carefully
you can see the plume of bats heading for the forest.

6 comments:

  1. The Khao Yai sister school sounds idyllic to me. Do they take foreign students? I'll send my boys there which will give me an excuse to keep visiting!

    Maybe I could get a job there teaching such extra-curricular activities as Advancing to Contact, Flanking Maneuvers, Close Quarter Battle Drills, Use of Elephants to Support Infantry (adapted from the same instructions regarding the use of tanks on the battlefield), and saying nice things about one’s King?

    First bat cave I ever entered was in Belize. Clambered over the pile of dung, looked up and thought, 'F*** ME!!!', the roof of the cave was a living, quivering mass. Then I looked down to see just what was tickling my legs and saw all the beasties...

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  2. Please excuse my absence but we are reeling from a close friend's sudden death.

    I love the many-legged critter, tho! Delicious image!

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  3. Interesting.

    When I was but a slip of a lad and pledged to a college fraternity, the brothers rousted all the pledges out of their beds in the dormitories one midnight to go on a scavenger hunt. One item on the list was three pounds of bat guano. We took flashlights and searched through some limestone caves west of town until the requirement was met. The only saving grace was that all the bats were out somewhere flying about.

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  4. Those bats actually makes daily life on the plantation possible as their meals include those things mankind is abused by.

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  5. Yuk that bug was almost it for me. Hate creepy crawlies.
    Sounds like you are enjoying it all?

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  6. Crikey....you do get around YP....not sure I would like to see the sights you have seen up close and personal though.

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