! Once we had checked out of our accommodation we went to hail a taxi to the train station. However the taxi which we picked wouldn’t start and we ended up sitting in the back like a couple of idiots while the driver repeatedly stalled the engine and we sat and watched hundreds of other taxis drive past us. We were too hungover to get out and hail another one, so we waited in the back while he got it working and then before we knew it we were at the train station.
The next place we are going is called Ayutthaya….after being there for nearly a week, neither of us have actually figured out how to pronounce it so we just mumble it whenever anyone asks where we are. At the train station there was a lovely Thai guy who worked at a special 'foreigner’ desk who directed us to the correct ticket counter and helped us get our tickets sorted. Once we had our tickets we headed to the platform and waited for the train. The platform looked like the one out of the film Slumdog Millionaire; it was an amazing place for watching the world go by and seeing Thai people going about their daily lives. On the train we ended up sitting next to 2 elderly Thai ladies who sat cross-legged on the seats and picked the dry skin off their feet and dropped it all over our stuff. When it came time for the train to leave we were pretty surprised to learn that the train-carriages hadn’t been connected properly…so the train drove off with only one carriage attached and left the other 8 carriages full of people sitting the station
. Now if this happened back home the whole train would be in uproar, but in Asia people have a bit of a giggle about it and then get off the train for a while to have a cigarette and to buy some more chicken drumsticks to eat on the journey. We sat there looking stunned that the train had just drove off with only one of the carriages attached; everyone else sat around us eating pot-noodles and reading the newspaper. I can’t even tell you how much I love being in Asia, to say that it is a different lifestyle and mindset here doesn’t even begin to explain how much of a different world it is over here. Moments like this, when the train drives off with no-one attached to it and everyone just smiles and drinks their coffee, are the moments that I love the most! I’m going to miss the flexibility and easy-going attitude of Asian life, when I’m here I don’t feel stressed or uptight in the slightest because I know that everything will work out in the end. After about 20 minutes the train driver must have realized that he was missing a few hundred passengers and rolled back into the station laughing his socks off and within a short while the train was all hooked up and we were on our way. He didn’t seem to give a toss that he had just caused a 45 minutes delay on the busiest train line in Thailand’s capital city and neither did anyone else for that matter! We hoped that this time the couplings had been done properly and we weren’t going to detach from the train mid-journey, although if we had I think most people would have giggled their arses off as we rolled all the way back to Bangkok
The train journey was really interesting as we got to see how local people really live: we saw a lot more poverty than I had expected, there were people sleeping in the abandoned parts of the railway station and many people were living in shelters made from sheets of metal and planks of wood
. Moving through the different parts of a country is always a strange experience because you see a whole other way of life from the one you live as a Western traveler: there are no cinemas, McDonalds or supermarkets here, daily life is a huge struggle for most of the people who live outside of the main towns and cities. At one point we rolled into a station and I saw a boy of about 13 sitting on the tracks with his head in his hands. We were in the station for about 5 minutes and he didn’t move a muscle the whole time we were there; his clothes were falling off his body, he was covered in dirt from head to toe and there were tear stains down his face. I have nephews of my own who are the same age as this boy and I don’t know why but seeing him sitting there felt like a really significant moment, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the image of him sitting there in his red jumper.
During the journey the old ladies next to us fell asleep: the one sitting next to Tom kept on swaying from side to side and everytime we went round a corner she would practically fall and land with her head in Tom’s crotch. It was absolutely hilarious and I was giggling like a kid while Tom was getting really angry at me and telling me to stop being so childish. After about 2 hours we arrived at Ayutthaya and walked from the train station to our accommodation. Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand before Bangkok and it is full of old ruins and temples: we have heard great things about this town and we can’t wait to get out and explore
. But by the time we had got checked-in our delayed hangovers had well and truly caught up with us and we both felt like death. So we had a little nap and then headed out to get some tea from the night market. Ayutthaya is a lot bigger and busier than we had expected; we practically have a motorway on our doorstep! Which we had earlier J-walked from the train station, since we had originally thought it was only a small road, until we found ourselves on a bridge in the middle of an 8 lane carriageway. The mosquitoes here are really vicious and we got destroyed within the first hour of us arriving, plus the hostel we are staying in have 6 cats and they spend all their time fighting and screaming at each other right outside our room. So we were very happy to discover that, for the first time since Hong Kong (yes you read correctly HONG KONG) we actually had a TV in our room!! It had over 60 channels… however only one of them was in English, a crappy channel called Fashion TV. At one point I even found Tom watching a French detective show which had Thai sub-titles, he was pretty engrossed in it despite not being able to speak French or Thai. The things we will do in order to feel normal and watch a bit of telly!
So today we woke up feeling relatively refreshed, especially considering the amount of Thai whiskey we had drunk last night. As soon as I opened my eyes I was greeted by 2 signs which told me that we had indeed been very drunk, 1) I had a bucket under my head and 2) there was a single-stem rose sitting in an empty coke can which Tom had bought me from one of the street kids on the way home. These 2 things let me know that we had been pretty drunk the night before, but we couldn't sit around all day nursing our heads because today we are leaving Bangkok and heading to our next destination. After a hearty breakfast and plenty of coffee to revive us we needed to get our bags packed, which meant that, yet again, it was time for me to get out our crappy £2 sewing kit which we got from Home Bargains and stitch Tom’s bag back together after it got ripped at the bus station. Normally I can’t sew to save my life, but I’ve become quite good since we left home and have even managed to colour co-ordinate the threads to make pretty patterns on our bags