Danok's Dinosaur Park

Imagine a park featuring dinosaurs in Danok! It wouldn't  be any way like Jurassic Park or Jurassic World of course. Instead of cloned dinosaurs, you'll get life size animatronic ones which use robotics to move the heads and sway the tails. Not very frightening of course even though they  grunt and snort; but great for taking photographs and sending squeals of delight especially from kids and the young at heart. After dinner in the Asian Cultural village, some of us made our way there. I remember paying  just 10 ringgit for the ticket. Some people complained they take just fifteen minutes to reach the exit. Think it's nicer to visit at night when the weather is cooler and the lights play tricks on your eyes and the dinosaurs look more real and menacing.      4

Roses in Leyton

In Leyton, you'd probably take that with a grain of salt; that roses are mostly native to Asia.
My friends and I stayed in a residential area in Leyton. The front compound of the house seems rather small but where there is a rose shrub growing, you'd be surprised to see how attractive the place could be. The roses in Leyton are rather big and showy and come in various hues. There are red, yellow, white, purple roses; all blooming profusely that you'd think that they have always belonged here. In the place where I put up the night, the compound at the back was rather big, unkempt too if you care to see; and if it were not for the roses, we would not be lured out in the morning  to have a cuppa there!

At a Pre-Ayutthayan Temple

Getting around Ayutthaya isn't a difficult affair. Like everywhere else in Thailand, you can hire a tuk tuk at a reasonable price. In any case, if you are not hunting for one, the driver of the auto rickshaw himself may hunt you down. He would probably have a laminated piece of paper depicting  all the interesting places you could visit. Ours took us first to Wat Thammikarat, a very old temple, supposed to be built even before the founding of Ayutthaya by Phraya Thammikarat, the son of King Sai Nam Phung. The temple isn't very big but it stands out from others with its broken bell-shaped mortar chedi, which is encircled by at least 50 Khmer- styled lion figures. Though the temple has been badly damaged by fire during a Burmese attack in 1767, it continues to be used till this day. Locals bring replicas of roosters as offerings, a practice definitely not Buddhist but it has more to do with local history to remember a pavement when the Ayutthaya prince's rooster won a fight …

Ho Chih Minh Present

Besides Miss Saigon, when talking about Vietnam, sometimes the haunting picture of a naked, horrified girl running from  the site of  Mỹ Lai massacre comes to mind. Vietnam War was big news in the 70s. The war between U.S. and the remnants of the French colonial government in South Vietnam against the indigenous but communist North Vietnam which began in 1955 didn't end until 1975. In 1968, American soldiers brutally killed women, children and old men in the village of  Mỹ Lai. The communists won the war finally but the newly unified Vietnam remained impoverished and politically isolated. Don't expect an impoverished, underdeveloped Ho Chih Minh with beggars or poor people  everywhere though. The series of economic and politically reforms that the Communist Party initiated in1986 perhaps bring much changes to the city. Ho Chih Minh present isn't Ho Chih Minh past. Some of our friends who were on their second trip to the city remarked there had been vast changes in the form…

First Stop: Leyton

Don't expect high rise buildings ala Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Bangkok in Leyton even though it has been around for a long, long time. In the morning, it is quiet there at the High Road which is the main route through the town. Said to be a retiring place for wealthy merchants and bankers in the 17th and 18th centuries, Leyton consists mainly of terraced houses built between 1870 and 1910 and modern housing estate. Today, the demographics have changed and one shouldn't be surprised to find Asians  plying the street. In fact, while there at Leyton, we almost always bought fruits and drinks from shops run by Pakistani or Bangladeshi, maybe people from the Middle East; but definitely not whites, this I can safely say. And perhaps you would be surprised that the 2011 census revealed that only 66.0% of people living in Leyton speak English. Others speak Urdu, Polish, Turkish, Somali, Romanian, Punjabi, Bengali, Lithuanian or French. 2 In the morning...