I forgot to mention that we saw many flooded fields on the way into Sukhothai. Miles and miles of flooding, as mentioned in the newspaper in Bangkok. Those poor farmers – it could be half a year’s crop ruined just because of a dam overflow.I woke up to find that I had tie dyed my bed sheet and white singlet a lovely pink. I had wet my sarong last night to lie under with the fan blowing over it (Rough-As-Guts air conditioning) and the dye transferred. I’ll have to go and humbly fess up to the owners and probably pay for another sheet. Bl*ddy India and its dye jobs! Our beds were apparently made in a quarry somewhere – we have maximum one inch worth of mattress on top of what cruelly looks like another soft mattress but is actually the consistency of slate. This goes nicely with the wooden bed frames that you kick your toe or leg against once an hour or so.I went to charge my camera batteries last night, and that’s when we discovered a scorch-mark on the plug in our room. So I opted to go and do it elsewhere. It conjured up all sorts of scenarios in our fertile imaginations…
For breakfast Ursula had the musli and I had a ham and chess omllett. Very nice. The coffee was good too.
We saw our first geckos on the wall last night. Now our trip is blessed and and we know for sure we are in Asia.
We hired a big old pushbike each and went to have a look at the Old Sukhothai ruins. We had to pay 100 baht each for the entrance fee, then another 10 baht each for our pushbikes to enter. Nice. It costs another 150 baht for an audio guide with earphones, but we opted for the cheaper, random approach. The place is pretty awesome – several acres of brick ruins, large Buddhas, ponds reflecting the above and coconut palms and shade trees, all within immaculately-kept grounds. The Thai geometric designs are very elegant and please the eye. Outside the ticket office, the air was full of dragonflies. It would have made a great picture had we had a high-speed camera. After an hour or two of gliding about gracefully on our cruiser bikes, I opted to go back to our room due to the heat, which was so bad even the locals were moaning. So, under the shower and a lie down in front of the fan was in order, so as to become something resembling human again.
Later, the great search for genuine Thai coconut ice cream was on. Everywhere we asked, we got sent onto another place advertising ice cream, but it was always European style. Finally we tracked one down in a street side stall opposite the 7/11. The lovely girl there made the ice cream herself and served it with choices of pumpkin, sweet potato, a strange looking-fruit and a weird-tasting jelly, etc. I opted for pumpkin, sweet potato and banana with mine, topped with chopped nuts. All for 20 baht – about 80 cents or so. If you ever get the chance to eat some Thai ice cream, try it. It’s aroi aroi – delicious!!! Less sweet than the European one and more thirst-quenching.
I also bought several beautiful local postcards (yeah I know, tourist!!), a funky Ganesha made in local pottery, and a nice crocheted belt – which my daughter is NOT going to nick off me. (Yeah right!)
I nearly walked into a large purple orchid hanging out of a tree, with the roots dangling below it. So perfect it looked unreal. Yep – grabbed a photo of it.
More culinary Nirvana; pineapple red curry, coconut fried rice and an apple crush – whizzed up with crushed ice and sugar. I will never eat kiwi again.
We get language lessons from the workers in the cafes. We attempt their language and they get to have a good laugh. The Thai words we learned today are ‘Kowat’ = bottle, ‘appin’ = apple, ‘mooh’ = pork (pity it doesn’t translate to beef, aye wot?), and ‘neung’ = one. We have also learned ‘kai’ = chicken and ‘yai’ = big.
We went back to the ruins again at sunset. There wasn’t a spectacular, fiery glow in the sky, but it was still lovely light to photograph in. At the main part of the ruins, every corner I turned around had yet another huge Buddha. Ursula finally dragged me away sometime after dark, when I had taken ‘just one more shot’ about a hundred times over.
Oh, in my next life, I’m going to be a motorbike dealer in Asia. I shall make a fortune – they’re everywhere!
I downloaded a couple of gigs worth of photos at the photo shop, and while we were waiting for the dvd to be made got yakking with the guy there – as much as you can yak with someone when you don’t understand each others language. Our miming abilities are coming along nicely. He recommended that we go to Pai after we’ve been to Chiang Mai, as it’s very beautiful. He said to then go onto Chiangkhan: Loei and then over to Laos. We also came away informed that Phitsanlok (sp) is sort of a transport hub – you go there to catch trains or buses to many other places. We have to dig up a map of Thailand from somewhere. We realised on the bus the other day that we have maps of all sorts of things but not actually Thailand. Oh great! Still, knowing me I’d probably read it upside down and we’d end up in the Philippines or Borneo or something, wondering why there are orang utans looking at us from the trees.
Later, over mussaman (which apparently means tomatoe) curry Phad Thai in a Parcel (inside an omelette) we got chatting with ‘Kris the crazy Mexican’ – a young guy who is half Swedish and half Mexican and has been to 36 countries so far. He also tried to talk us into going to Pai and showed us photos of his own experience there. ‘Tis getting mighty tempting, we had to admit. But we will see what happens after our elephant experience. He also gave us a contact for a guesthouse in Siem Reap for when we got to see Angkor Wat – Julie’s Guesthouse, who has cheap rooms and mighty good mozzarella cheese sticks. As you do.
I’m sitting in one of the cyber cafes here, which is wall to wall computers and huge, comfortable lime-green armchairs. Very funky. I’ve tried to get some photos sorted to email to y’all, but the photo programs are unfamiliar and all in Thai, so I could be here for hours trying to sort that out. Sorry folks. The toilet here is amusing – it’s huge, sauna-like, has tiled pools of water and various instruments lying around to do God knows what with, and you have to flush the toilet by throwing several pots of water down it.
We got up around 5.30ish this morning to see the monks receiving alms from the locals and watch life wake up in general. We were greeted by stump-tail cat who spun quite a story about not having eaten for 3 years and escorted by our friend Black Dog, who’s a happy fellow, but actually one of the bosses around here. After breakfast, we were about to get up from the table to go and buy a bus ticket to Chiang mai when a guy came by and asked if we wanted to buy bus tickets to Chiang Mai. So we didn’t even have to leave our table to organise our travels. Nice!