Monday, August 01, 2005

Day 90

On to Ayutthaya today, and a bicycle tour of some of the temples in the city—Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat_Phra_Si_Sanphet_3,_Ayutthaya Wat_Phra_Si_Sanphet_1,_Ayutthaya
and Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit, then the reclining Buddha at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon,
then another temple whose name I forget.

Slightly awkwardly, I managed to break my bicycle. The rear wheel got slightly out of alignment so it was jamming against the frame, so one of the guides flipped it over to try to adjust it. He couldn't get the quick-release catch for the wheel undone, so I had a go—and managed to snap the catch and cut my hand. Oops. As we were near the end, the guide just swapped me on to his bike for the last bit (and I nearly managed to break that one too—riding up a kerb the seat collapsed into the frame and the light fell off).

Anyway, after the bike tour came a shower and change of clothes, then my first experience of a Thai massage. I have to admit it didn't really do much for me, although it was pleasant enough; possibly I just wasn't relaxing into it properly. Next up, dinner on a riverboat (a converted rice boat), including some fun feeding of the local catfish. Apparently no-one is allowed to fish for them on the stretch of river in front of one of the temples, and so they're positively teeming there—only to completely disappear 20 metres further upriver. The local Ayutthaya guide (Willy) provided an odd dessert: sort of like a candy floss pancake.

After dinner, on to an overnight train to Chiang Mai.

Why is it that when you change money they always give you too large denominations? I've still got a whole load of THB 1000 notes, which never fail to generate a pained expression when I try to hand them over.

Travelling around by bus, I am struck by the suspicion that the Thai tourist board has a special map of Thailand, with all of the westerner-friendly toilets near main roads marked on it, so that the tour guides can plot their itineraries.

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