Petchaburi is a nice town. It has a real thai feeling to it, with lots of teak houses and very little farang, or none. I picked it becauese there are lots of Wats and there was a guest house that was pretty cheap (I look for anything that says "good for backpackers"). The trip was good and uneventful. I took the bus to Ban Pong and then walked to the train station and took that down to Petchaburi. It should work out nice because today I just take the train down to Chaiya for the mediation course.
Arriving in Petchaburi was nice, there is another very vibrant market. I was able to walk straight to the guest house I wanted to and there was a room available. I had lunch with a Thai girl that is on vacation from Phuket (the most touristy island). She is one of those girls who stand outside and try to get people to come into the bar. Its nice to meet a someone who has that job because I kinda looked down at it, because its really annoying, but it just a job. She said she did work up here for the hostel but once she learned a little english she went down there to get more money.
After lunch I hung out with a nice French girl and talked out on the hang out area before I went out for a walk in the evening to see at least one Wat. It was a really cool spot, where the 5th emporor lived, up on a hill. I saw a huge reclining buddha and there was a cobblestone walkway behind it going up the hill. I even saw some cool cave temples on the hill. There were stairs that just kept going down into the darkness, I got a bit scared because I could hear the bats and it was evening time so they could start comming out of the cave at any time. At the top of the hill there were big buildings and Wats, really amazing stuff (I forgot my camera so no pictures). There was no one around, I kinda snuck into the emporors area because it was locked. Then walked around the Wat on the other side of the hill. I walked right past a security guard and he didn't notice me, I say that because it was closed and I walked around for another 20 minutes before he noticed me.
The other cool thing was that there were hundreds of monkeys up on the hill, and I mean hundreds, everywhere you look. To walk down the trail you had to wind your way through them. I stopped and watched them groom each other and there were a lot of cute babies that clung onto the mothers stomach.
After that I returned to the guest house and went to the night market to get food with the French girl. We got some street phad thai, it was good. Then walked around drinking beer and looking at the eluminated Wats at night. It was a good night. Now it is the morning and I am going to catch the train in about 1.5 hours to go to the meditation thing and there will be no posts. I wanted to write some thoughts on some things but I don't have much time, I'll do some though.
I've noticed the language barrier is not that hard to get over. A good smile and a laugh gets you a long way. Even if I didn't understand anything we could smile at each other and laugh at the fact we can't talk. The other strange thing here in Thailand is the sex tourism thing, luckally there is none here in Petchaburi. But everywhere else there is, at least where there are farang and bars. It is just so strange to see the old men with really young women, but its like its normal, no one even looks twice. Even in resurants if you want to talk about it with other travelers we would have to speak quietly because there was usually at least one pretty close by. Then there are the lady boys. I guess it is really normal for the boys to try out being girls. One statistic I heard is one in three families has a lady boy. I don't know what to say about it besides that it is a strange thing. One local said it was normal for a boy to try it out for months or years and then decide they don't like it, I guess like being a monk. The last thing I wanted to mention is that I really like solo traveling. I just go with my gut about what to do and everything has worked out so far. Like this small town of Petchaburi, I'm not sure exactly why I choose it because if I stayed on the train for half an hour more I would have been to endless beach towns, but I thought this real Thai city looked fun to spend a night in. And it worked out great, I'm not sure if other travelers with me would have made the same choice but I've been happy with mine.
Well peace to you all, and I'll write when I get out of the meditation thing on Jan 10. I'm a bit nervous but excited also, it should be an interesting experince no matter what!