Suphan Buri City

2 weekends ago I decided to explore my own province a little more and meet up with some Americans in Suphan Buri city, the big city in my province.  It’s only about an hour by minibus, and only 80 baht, a little over $2.  It’s a small city, my province isn’t even in the Lonely Planet guidebook, so I guarantee everything you read here is ~off-the-beaten-path.~

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After arriving in Suphan city via mini bus and realizing once again that it’s way too hot here to wander around outdoors aimlessly during the day, I decided to visit the local mall via tuk tuk.  Of course, as Suphan Buri city doesn’t have tourists, none of the tuk tuk drivers spoke English.  After trying and failing to show the tuk tuk driver what I wanted using pictures and google translate, he said “OHHH Tesco Lotus” and I just decided “FINE” and went with it.  So I essentially spent my day at a grocery store because I can’t speak Thai.

Tesco Lotus is one of the only supermarket-like stores in Thailand, so he probably saw that I was a farang and just assumed.  But whatever, I hadn’t been to a Tesco yet and had heard a lot of hype so I just went with it.  I mean I have to shop at an outdoor market even just for produce in my town, so the thought of perusing the fruit section with air conditioning and seeing meat that wasn’t swarming with flies was intriguing.

You know that scene in Toy Story when all the aliens see the claw machine, get all bug eyed, and scream “THE CLAWWWWW” in amazement?  That was like me in Tesco.  I haven’t seen anything so Western since I passed through security at O’Hare 3 weeks ago.  But of course, people still blatantly stared at me like a circus animal.

Half of the store was like a true American supermarket; complete with peanut butter, processed baked goods, and oversized bags of nonsense large enough to feed an overweight family of 12.  They also had a Dairy Queen, a Dunkin’ Donuts, sushi, a few coffee shops, and a movie theater; among other small stores.  Since I had time to kill before meeting up with the other teachers.  I even saw Finding Dory.  It was completely in Thai with 0 subtitles but whatever, the plot was still easy to follow.  Thais have trouble pronouncing r’s so it was more like finding DoLEEE according to whoever dubbed the dialogue.

On Sunday, after spending the evening with other Americans in Suphan city(post upcoming) I went to see big ~attraction,~ in Suphan city, the Dragon Descendants shrine and museum.

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Originally I only went to this to kill time.  I didn’t even bring my DSLR to Suphan City(gasp) as I didn’t think it was necessary.  But the Dragon Descendants shine was surprisingly cool, and I’m never leaving for a weekend without my camera again.

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The museum was surprisingly very Chinese, and was apparently opened in 1996 to commemorate peaceful relations between China and Thailand.  Suphan Buri is the home of a previous prime minister of Thailand, Banhan, coincidentally the same man that opened the school I work at.  He funded many buildings around Suphan Buri, the museum included.

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The museum features a massive dragon that you can go inside, along with small shrines to what I think are different Chinese religious figures.  You can buy flowers and burn incense at the shrines of course, because what’s a tourist monument without someone peddling their religious beliefs.

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There was one section of statues that appeared to be dedicated to different zodiac signs, although to be honest I’m not 100% sure, and another section that featured statues that looked like they could be Chinese gods.

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Other than the statues, shrines, and a few towers you can climb up, that’s about all there is to see.  I didn’t go into the actual museum because I didn’t feel like paying 300 baht to learn about dragon descendants, plus I was on a schedule to go meet other Americans for lunch.  It still was cool to see, and kind of made me consider visiting China.  At the least I’ll pay a visit to Chinatown in Bangkok this weekend.

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