Temples, Dogs and Strange Men

Trip Start May 13, 2007
Trip End Jul 26, 2007

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I am now in Kanchanaburi, the ancient city of Khymer ruins.  Yesterday's journey here, unfortunately was nowhere near as comfortable as the last bus journey I was on.  The only bus going to Ayuthaya, was an ordinary, 3rd class one, which means no air-con and windows which don't open!  As you can imagine, it was very hot!  Whats more, there wasn't a direct route, so I had to change at Suphanburi.  Oh well, all part of the experience, I suppose!  The main thing is I got here in one piece and my guesthouse is lovely.  It's a converted old teak mansion.  I have a double room with my own bathroom and veranda overlooking the river.  It's a bit more expensive than the last place I stayed - 5 pound a night, but definately worth it.  I gave in and had a KFC last night.  I know, not very authentic, but my tummy has been a bit jippy the last few days from all the rich, spicy food, so I thought I'd better lay off it for a bit!

Yesterday when I arrived I was pretty knckered, so I had a nap, then a walk round town, but there wasn't really much time to see the ruins, as it was nearly closing time.  So today I got up bright and early and rented a bicycle for the day from my guesthouse.  The ruins are quite spread outr around the town, so I thought this would be the best way to see them all.
However, as soon as I stepped out of the guesthouse I realised I had forgotten about the chaotic roads here and the fact that I haven't been on a bike for about 10 years and never passed my cycling proficiency test!  With all the traffic zooming past me, suddenley my bike idea didn't seem like such a good one!  It was bad enough trying to cross the roads on foot, nevermind negociate them on a bike!  However, once I got used to it, it was actually ok, I just kept really close to the kerb, the only scary bits came at crossroads, but I'm still here to tell the tale!

So, now I had my bike, all I had to do was find the ruins I wanted to visit.  At first I didn't do too badly, I found the first temple with no problems.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  All these ancient Buddha figures (most of them without heads!) scattered amongst temple walls and pillars, with trees growing in between them.  And almost 1000 years old too.  There was even a Buddha head that a tree trunk had grown around.

From there, I rode to another temple, which was up a dirt track road.  It didn't seem to have any other people visiting it.  I soon discovered why.  I left my bike and tried to go into the temple and a pack of 6 dogs came running out at me barking and baring their teeth.  The first thought that flashed through my mind was, "Oh my God, I'm going to get Rabies!"   Luckily (or so I thought) a woman came out and started shouting at the dogs, so most of them ran back, but one kept following me no matter where I went, still barking at me.  It was so scary, I hate dogs!  Eventually it gave up though, and so did I.  I decided to give that temple a miss and went back to my bike.  Then came my next scary encounter.  By my bike there was now a man standing by his pickup truck.  He started talking to me, asking where I was from etc, which a lot of Thai people do, normally to practise their English, so I thought nothing of it.  When I was leaving, he went to, well I thought, shake me hand.  What he actually did was put it to his mouth as if to kiss it, but started sniffing it!  I pulled my hand back and he then went to (again, I thought) kiss my cheek, but he tried to smell that too.  Obviously, I quickly stepped away, got on my bike and left, and he shouted bye, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.  I think it was possibly the most vile and repulsive thing anyone has ever done to me, I still feel sick thinking about it now, it was like something out of Silence of the Lambs,  Weirdo!

Well, after that little incident, I visited a few more ruins then decided to try to find the post office to send my post cards.  It was at this point that my luck entirely ran out.  I got horribly lost and ended up riding round in circles for quite a while.  Many of you will know my sense of direction is bad at the best of times, but when every road looks the same its even worse!  I eventually managed to find the post office, but managed to get quite sunburnt in the process, despite the fact I was wearing factor 20 that was supposed to last all day.  So now I look like a lobster.  By this point, my bottom was very sore from the extremely hard bike seat and riding a very bumpy road!  I decided to get something to eat to cheer myself up and went to a Thai local restaurant where I has some delicious king prawn noodle soup!  Then it was back to the guesthouse for a much needed shower and nap!

I'm catching a train to Khao Yai National Park tomorrow, supposed to be one of the most beautiful national parks in the world.  I'm hoping to see some wild elephants and maybe even a tiger, although hopefully not too close-up

You can see all the photos from Ayuthaya at: www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=22605&l=35427&id=559965371

Hope you're all well,
Lots of Love
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