Song of the day: Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) by Jimi Hendrix
Today has been a day of consolidation either side of a two-hour minibus trip. We got up late and packed before heading out to breakfast – cheese and ham toasties, which seem to be a pretty universally available food anywhere you go in the world. We checked out and chilled in the garden of the hostel until a minibus taxi came to pick us up at half one. It was already full except for two seats – one in the front next to the driver and one right at the back. I took the back seat whilst Hollie rode shotgun. It was a fast and efficient journey, but we bounced up and down on the uneven road surfaces so I couldn’t catch any additional Z’s. I kept closing my eyes then waking up with my head banging against the window. We stopped at a services for ten minutes where I bought a Sai Ua – a kind of spiced sausage which originates from the north of the country. It was delicious but nearly cost me my seat on the minibus – as I swanned back round the corner from the street food vendor Hollie was beckoning frantically to me as the whole of the rest of the group had already returned to their seats and the engine was running.
We travelled through some incredible rural countryside on the way to Ayutthaya. The land was arid yet bountiful, with every field cultivated in some way. we passed farmsteads where moody looking cows awaited milking and anorexic chickens picked at nothing much in the yard. We crossed a river full of big barges the size of small houses full of sacks of grain. In each field between Kanchanaburi and Ayutthaya there are large crane-like birds that ferret about for food. Occasionally a field may have a scarecrow in it, but it seems to be an ineffective weapon against these scavengers. We rolled into Ayutthaya around half three. The heat was possibly the most intense since we arrived in Thailand and wasn’t conducive to us doing much of anything tonight. The minibus dropped passengers off at their various guesthouses, and as it went about doing it’s rounds we caught glimpses of the abundant red-brick ruins that the city is famous for. Ayutthaya was the capital of the ancient Siamese empire, and much like Rome the old and new cities are practically on top of each other.
We sat in the hostel for an hour or so sweating cobs before heading out to dinner. Out the front window of the restaurant we could make out the fading spires and domes of various ruins as they yielded to the darkness. I had panang chicken which was too hot to be enjoyable, especially when I was already baking, and a side order of “Laab” which I expected to be a plate of a kind of mincemeat dish. When it arrived it was completely different from the picture I’d pointed at and tasted like an unpleasant aroma that we’d kept smelling coming from street food stores in Bangkok. I’m not sure if I ordered the wrong thing or not but it’s not the best Thai food I’ve eaten so far. Hollie had the oyster chicken which was good, before we retreated back to the hostel to crash out. Not as much to report today really, but if every day was as busy as yesterday we’d be struggling to keep going. we’re looking forward to hitting the ruins tomorrow after a good night’s sleep, but as I type this a Spanish couple in the next room have started arguing and slamming doors in dramatic fashion, so it remains to be seen whether that will be possible!
Have a nice day