Song of the day: Bungalow Bill by The Beatles
More temples today. We slept in for aaages which was very welcome. I feel that my previous mention of the bungalow that we’re staying in did not do it justice. We are situated in what could very well be described as a tiny segment of paradise. You’ve heard that word from me a few times already and perhaps I’m being unimaginitive, but the word paradise is akin to the word “perfection” and I reckon that’s what this place is. The wooden bungalow is a bit like something out of the Karate Kid – I could well imagine some kind of Karate master sat cross-legged on the bed, using the absolute tranquility of the place to achieve a state of higher conciousness.
The patio doors that lead onto the veranda have a set of wooden shutters over them which we pulled over last night, completely sealing out the morning light and ensuring that we didn’t wake until gone 10am. The aircon is of such a standard that when you stand underneath it at full blast, you could feel like you’re back in Derby on a cold Friday morning. Before coming away we were advised that if the room that we’re staying in does not have air-con, we should sleep in a mosquito net. This room had both. There’s a strange novelty to sleeping under a mosquito net for the first time. It puts me in mind of when I was a kid and my Mum would construct a tent out of bedsheets in the living room for me – the double sanctuary of being indoors indoors makes you feel very safe. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to say that if we stopped in a 5-star resort with this kind of accomodation we wouldn’t be complaining.
Another day of temples and museums today. I won’t get bogged down too much with the details as I’m concious that reading about these places can get a little repetitive, but I’ll give you the basics. Sukothai was the capital of ancient Siam before Ayutthaya was. The ruins are older and spread over a much greater area, but they’re still very complete and impressive considering that we’re going back to the early middle ages. The early basis for the script that forms the written Thai language was developed here, and it was also the place from which the Siamese started gaining more territory so that the tiny city-states from all around began to start looking more like modern Thailand as you’d see it on the map today. We finished our sightseeing with a trip to the museum (partly because we were interested, and partly because it was air-conditioned and a welcome respite from the sun). This contained throusands of Buddha heads that had fallen off various bits of the ruins. These temples have only been reclaimed from the jungle and protected by the Thai government in the last 100 years or so, and before then they lay in ruins for a few hundred years in which a lot of things were looted. To think that what we see here is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what it would have been like at the time that these temples were constructed is an awe-inspiring thought.
We’re back at the hostel now, having a beer on the balcony. We met a French guy called Sylvain earlier who is travelling alone. He seems a nice bloke and if we spot him in the hostel later we’ll invite him to join us for dinner. He is sleeping in one of the shared dorms in the main hostel building and I feel a bit bad for him as we slink off towards our super-deluxe bungalow accomodation! Travelling together is certainly good for your budget – accomodation and taxi fares etc cost half the money, but of course the satisfaction of sharing these experiences is the best benefit of travelling as a couple. I’ve longed for years to get away and have these experiences, and if I’d not have had my fear of flying as a barrier I’m sure I would have gone away years ago. I’m not a believer in things being “planned out” or any of that business, but I do feel extremely lucky to be seeing all of these things for the first time with Hollie by my side. People take pictures of everything incase their memories of the subject matter fade, but to go away somewhere with your partner means that you only have to look at them to be reminded of a million amazing things that you’ve done together.
Tomorrow we forge our way further north to Chiang Mai. There’s a lot to be seen and done up in that part of the world and whilst I’m not savouring the prospect of another six hour bus journey, I’ve learned enough about this travelling lark by now to know that the benefits by far outweigh the drawbacks.
Have a nice day,
Tommy and Hollie x