I was recently in Bangkok again during a RTW trip. A nice break from the winter back in New England, the weather was perfect. 85 degrees by mid-morning I was taking full advantage of the warm temperatures and running a few miles everyday. Benjakiti Park is beautiful respite from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, a perfect venue to throw on your running shoes and knock out a few miles. Having been in Bangkok several times over the last year I have utilized the walkway surrounding the small lake in the center of Benjakiti Park every visit.
I was on my second lap around the lake when a “giant” lizard went scurrying across the path and into the bushes! At least 4 feet long. I was more than surprised and I am pretty sure a choice word slipped out. I paused for a second and then picked up my pace to put a little distance between me and the lizard. I had never seen a lizard that big before and was eager to learn about what I just saw. After I made my way back to my hotel I asked the security guard and he was able to explain in broken English that I saw a monitor lizard. (2nd largest to the Komodo) I also learned that these creatures are liked in Thailand about as much as rats. Tua Nguen Tua Tong is the Thai name which loosely translates to silver and gold creature. Also called “hia” which is to be be considered a swear or an insult. Even saying the name out loud can be considered bad luck. Although not really a threat to humans unless provoked, they have claws and sharp teeth with nasty saliva that can cause a bad infection, I’ll keep my distance and have to keep my pace up!