20/11/2008 – A wander around Bangkok
I had intended to go to Ayutthaya today but I’d had a restless nights sleep and overslept so I took the opportunity to wander around Bangkok a bit more. After checking out and leaving my bag behind the fish tank, I caught the Sky train to Saphan Taksin to catch the Express Boat up river to Tha Thien. I enjoy getting the boat, I can’t really say why, I’d like to say something romantic like the wind blowing through my hair, the soothing pace of cruising along the water, or the chance to see so many sites along the way, but really I just like boats.
I crossed the river at Tha Thien to Wat Pho which cost only 100 baht to get in. I’d forgotten to cover my shoulders so I had to rent a shawl from the ticket office in order to be allowed around the temple. Wat Pho is stunning, the main chedi is enormous and inlaid with china in an intricate design. The climb up to the top is hardcore, the steps are scarily steep and I was clinging onto the handle rail for dear life. But the view from the top was lovely.
My favourite part of Wat Pho was the temple which contained a sitting Buddha at its shrine. I spent quite a long time sat at the shrine letting my mind wander. In the corner a Thai man was sat on a small scaffolding restoring the paintwork by hand, it was so intricate and beautiful.
I caught the ferry back across the river to Tha Thien and walked up the street towards the Grand Palace. Along the way I passed many sellers displaying their wares on pieces of cloth on the ground. Mostly they were selling what looked like old coins and artefacts but I imagine they were fakes.
By the next junction I was getting peckish so I had some lunch at a street stall and watched the bustle of the market.
Later on I treated myself to my first pedicure ever. The salon was open-plan with rows of reclining leather chairs. I enjoyed having my feet massaged, scraped and painted and for the first time in my life I have pretty feet, hoorah!
It was getting late so I went back to Asha’s to meet Jimmy and Kelly, eat some Massaman Curry and then catch a taxi to the train station to catch our sleeper train to Chiang Mai.
The sleeper train looked like a tin can on wheels. All the beds lined the edge of the carriage with fans positioned sporadically along the ceiling. The windows were either wide open or pulled up as metal shutters. The train was delayed for nearly an hour because one of the bunk beds was jammed and it took 5 guys, screwdrivers, a chisel and finally brute force to pull the bed down. It was really quite ridiculous to watch.
The train was rickety, noisy and stuffy and I’m sure I was get covered in bed bug bites, so needless to say, I did not sleep well at all.