At 6:30am John and I were sitting outside our hotel waiting for our tour bus.
We didn't sleep last night because we were still jet lagged and at about 3:00am some very drunk locals gathered just below our window and were laughing, screaming and some woman was braying like a horse. Note to self: next hotel I'll request a room far away from the street.
Our hotel otherwise is great. We booked the Dewan Hotel because we wanted something central to a lot of the main sites in the old town. The rooms are clean, spacious and have lots of supplies such as toothbrushes and tooth paste, which came in handy when our luggage was lost.
We still haven't used the rooftop pool.
At check in, They gave us a note with names and descriptions of the five guest services staff. The descriptions were cute but may have changed during translation...for example: New- the smiley face young lady. Ta-The pony tailed with sweet mouth chic lady. Pu-pae -The smart and man-looking sweet lady and Tle- The gentle guy with his positive thoughts and mind. Hmmmm.
Needless to say we had no problem getting up at 5:30am this morning because we never got to sleep. We went to our favourite breakfast place which serves an amazing Thai omelette. For some reason, every morning the owner takes a picture of her customers, each time we have been there she takes our picture. She is very friendly.
People watching is lots of fun at 6:30am. We saw about 25 or 30 barefoot monks holding bowls of food walking single file to some unknown destination down the street. Shortly after we saw one monk riding in the back of a tuk tuk...possibly late to the party.
Part of John's scalp has blistered, scanned and turned yellow. He got a sun burn on the first day (his hat was in the lost luggage). He says it's my fault that I let the sun burn a hole in his head because I didn't tell him to buy a hat - me bad wife.
Lots of people ride motorcycles here. It's not unusual to see both parents and kids on one bike. Many women ride side saddle.
We were told by a taxi driver that the mini flower leis hanging off their rear view mirrors brings them good luck and has something to do with good spirits. I didn't quite totally understand what our driver was saying. I can understand however why they would want good luck because Bangkok traffic is a little chaotic ( but not as bad as Egypt's traffic).
Popular North American top 40 music is often heard but the taxi drivers usually play Thai music which is melodious with a slight middle eastern feel to it. Our tour bus played country music. There is a lot of western influence here, brand names such as Nike, Reebok, Michael Kors and Calvin Klein are prevalent. Stores and chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, 7 Eleven, and Boots to name a few are also highly visible.
Our bright pink tour bus had stuffed animals hanging off its outside mirrors. We travelled about an hour and a half to Ayutthaya, which was Thailand's former capital 470 years ago.
Even at that early hour, the street food vendors were hard at work. There was a woman doing a brisk business supplying fried chicken to early risers.
As we left the city, we noticed that the early morning traffic going into Bangkok was bumper to bumper. Some things are the same all over.
The areas outside of Bangkok seemed to be mostly agricultural communities, many on rivers. Lots of rice fields which I'm told are harvested twice a year. We passed some of the brightest hot pink water lilies that I had ever seen. Many of the houses are painted bright colours and you often see small shrines incorporated into the houses. Here the old seems to mix in with the modern. Factories and rice fields, simple houses, sometimes on stilts and modern ones. Every now and then we passed random garbage heaps but we also passed a lot of lush green areas. Even away from the capital we still saw memorials and bunting; signs of mourning for a beloved King.
The Bang Pa Summer Palace was lovely. A mix of Thai, Chinese and European influence. All the ladies of the court had their own Western style homes in the inner palace area, ( not a bad idea). The grounds and gardens were beautiful, filled with magenta bougainvillia and shrubs manicured into animal shapes. Small canals ran throughout the palace grounds with picturesque bridges connecting the walkways.
Our next stop was to the ruins of Wat Maha That. In 1767 it was destroyed in a Burmese attack. The ruins had a haunting beauty and reminiscent of the ancient ruins of Mystra in Greece. Most of the Buddas were decapitated and tree roots had grown around one of the Budda heads. Beautiful.
The bus then took us to the Royal Temple of Wat Naphrameru-rajikaram. This temple was completed in 1499. It was the place where the King of Siam and the King of Burma discussed peace after they were defeated by Burma in the mid- 1500's
A large group of monks were visiting at the same time as us. It seemed a bit out of place to see them taking selfies and pictures with their cell phones and cameras and then perusing the religious souvenirs.
A very large Gold principal Budda was in the temple. Very serene.
Nearby, we stopped at the humongous reclining Budda at Wat Lokaya Sutha.
I assume that the Thai people are extremely devoted to their religion because there are so many temples here.
We then took a cruise back to Bangkok down the Chao Phraya River where we were treated to a lovely Thai lunch buffet. We passed run down houses together with higher end homes and luxury apartments and of course many many temples.
Back at the hotel our custom made clothes arrived and they fit perfectly.
We packed up tonight and went out to supper nearby at a Thai restaurant, picked up some medication for John's head at the pharmacy and made our way back to our hotel. We catch a flight in the morning to Chang Mai. Hopefully I get some sleep tonight.