We've been in Ayutthaya a week now. It started as a short stop so Sam could get some dental work done, and then the inevitable sickness returned, and the dental work took longer than expected as new mouth plate had to be made (much cheaper than in Australia)... So we'll finally be leaving here tomorrow.
The temperature here has been HOT. It's been over 40 degrees for the past four days. I've been trying to get out at 6 or 7 in the morning to go for a run before the stiffling heat sets in, and we're glad we're staying in a room with air-con and wifi. We can understand better now why the streets are so much more packed once the sun has gone down.
Much time has been spent researching the next leg of our journey, through Laos and China. Working out where border crossings are, downloading maps onto our phone (free Ovi maps with Nokia), reading about others who have ridden through Tibet, and debating how to go about the Tibet part of the journey - do we pay for an expensive guide (the legal way to do it) or attempt to go it alone?
We've been plagued for the past few days by the same music playing over and over repeatedly - with a booming voice speaking over the top from time to time. Our investigations led us to a big festival right near where we're staying. It runs from about 5pm - midnight every day, but the music and booming voice run from 9am. It's like a cheap version of the show - with a couple of rides and games and lots of food stalls. It is running for two weeks as part of Thai new year celebrations. We went there one night and had lots of fun at the shooting and darts games, and tried some food including sweet corn off the cob (sweetened even further with condensed milk and sugar we discovered), omelette, noodles and barbequed eggs in shells on a stick.
This morning, as I was site-seeing during my morning run, I was convinced to buy a set of postcards from a young boy. He was so adamant, and looked at me with eyes that seemed to say "You have everything, and I have nothing"... The set had 12 postcards and they ended up costing only Aus $2... (about 4 pounds lately I think). The postcards are not the nicest or best quality you will see, but I felt like I was supporting this young kid. And at least he was offering a product, unlike many children who simply beg.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia