Sunday, 12 April 2009

What? Wat!

As I was heading north for 10 to 12 days before coming back to Bangkok I decided that I really didn’t need to lug my 24 kilo bag around. As the hostel had a storage room for 20 baht a day I now have a small holdall for my clothes.

The train ride to Ayutthaya, the ancient ruined capital of Siam was a long affair. Just kidding it was only 90 minutes, barely enough time to get comfortable. Once off the train it was a short walk to the hostel I had booked online a few days ago.
Could I find the damn place! It was, according to the hostel a one minute walk from the river boat ferry and I even had the map they had emailed me. After a while of just “not getting it” I asked a few shop owners and taxi drivers. Blank looks were all I got. So either I was standing right outside the place and was being blind to the fact or the hostel didn’t exist. Mind you it could be option number three.

After a short sit down I did the unthinkable and got out the guide book and walked the 500m or so to the biggest gringo hostel marked on the map. Surprisingly “Tony’s place” is rather nice. The room has

A bed
A window
A fan
A mirror
And a floor to put stuff on

A good restaurant and a well stocked bar is attached. Along the same street are a few bars so walking far isn’t an option worth taking.

It seems that I left Bangkok on the right morning because this afternoon the red shirts came to town and the government has declared a state of emergency throughout the greater Bangkok area.

I also found out how much it costs for a days diving in phuket. It’s 4000 baht or about £78. There is no way I’m ever paying that much, so looks like plans are a changing.

New Years Eve or just the next day (depending on which country you are from):

I woke early, too early as it turns out because the coffee shop across the road doesn’t open till 7am. It does, when it is open, do a damn fine cup of joe. After breakfast I packed the camera into the day bag, slung it on my back and started walking. There was something that I had forgotten but I just couldn’t remember it!

Following a short and lazy walk I was at the 1st ruin of the day. It was a Wat and it had a central temple surrounded by several smaller ones. The remains of a great hall were in front and all of this was surround by a large brick enclosure. Across the road was another Wat which was very similar. When I left the 1st of 5 tourist buses turned up, damn I have good timing!

I walked the long way to get to another Wat. It’s hot in Thailand and it was only 10am. This Wat had 3 central large pointy thingies (I don’t want to confuse you by getting too technical) and they were impressive. Next door was a modern looking temple containing a large bronze Buddha. When I say large, I mean huge.

From there I started to head somewhere else and was walking along the street hugging the shade. Coming towards me was a pickup over laden with shouting kids. When it drew level with me I suddenly remembered what I had forgotten. Having your face smeared with mud and a bucket of water poured over your head helps with the memory loss. Its water festival time in Thailand, it’s the local way of celebrating the New Year and it lasts for 3 days!!!
It took me an hour to get back to the hostel; all along this one road, next to the river were 100’s of people shouting and laughing soaking everyone that walked or drove past. I got soaked to the skin 5 times, drenched several times and had many mud packs free of charge.
Back in my room I drained the inch of water from the bottom of my bag and I was happy to find that my camera was mostly dry and still working. I spent the rest of the day standing on the street outside the bar with a bucket of water in my hand getting people wet.
It was the best way of keeping cool!!!!

The next morning I woke up, sat on the side of the bed, looked at my reflection in the mirror and said to myself “F**k, I’m 39 today”

Could be worse…I could be reading this as opposed to writing it

Today (the 15th) is my last full day in this town. It’s hot but there are hammocks and I’m sure I can find an ice cold beer or two

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