There were 4 heaters on the ceiling of the bathroom that give out a nice warmth before and after your shower. Discovering these unique features the night before was helpful when getting up at 04:15, when the surprisingly very inactive day yesterday had left us really tired and wanting to stay curled up in bed. But, we managed to hop on the shuttle bus for 05:30 and zip back to Melbourne airport for attempt #2 at leaving the country. The gentlemen that were before us yesterday at ticket desk, at the same hotel and on the same shuttle bus, went their own way and joined the queue for check in much later than we did. In fact, the queue became mental and the regular 07:00 flight for business people flying to Sydney for meetings was delayed as JetStar hijackers took all the spare seats and were checking in late. In defence, we were told to check in at 06:00, Katherine and I wanted to be earlier for safety sake.
We were given breakfast on the short haul flight to Sydney and loved the space, comfort, sophistication, et cetera of the Qantas flight. We were eagerly hopeful that the next flight would be equally luxurious, so we wrote missing blogs and listened to music. A throng of eager people buzzed through the domestic lounge to gate 15, where the shuttle bus took us to the international terminal. Through security again, the staff weren’t as pleasant as the domestic crew, but maybe they have tougher jobs dealing with different languages and more baggage trying to be taken as hand luggage? They certainly had a rough time at the boarding gate where a gent was f*ing and blinding about something. The guys behind us on the plane (seat monkeys) were also loud and we heard that the gentleman outside was rather irate as he felt that, due to the flight cancellation yesterday, he deserved to be upgraded to business class and wasn’t boarding the plane unless it happened… I believe his bags were removed from the hold! Also, someone they knew lost their passport somewhere between checking in at Melbourne yesterday and this morning and couldn’t even make it to Sydney. The whole scene was a small Month Python sketch and we were lucky to have a pleasant passenger next to us for the flight. A delectable homemade drink of orange and hibiscus was served before a choice of lunch – Katherine ordered the pork chop, I had the beef curry. With a garlic bread bun and rhubarb desert we had struck out big time. So, when the drinks trolley came through and we were on film numero duo we were now sipping G&T’s. It’s a tough life as an international drifter.
Skip ahead some easy trips to the bathroom as we didn’t block anyone, sparkling wines, more films and to series, a flat beard cheese concoction for an amuse bouche and we touched down in Bangkok, a day later than planned and a longer flight than anticipated. We knew the airport well and self guided went through immigration, collected bags and were on a train in to the city.
In the space of dumping bags in the room and returning to our infamous street restaurant the heavens had opened and the rain was pouring down. But, nothing, not even the smell of sewage from the flowing sewers could ruin the papaya salad and green curry to finish a perfect day. Plus, a private room to snuggle up and drift asleep. Wednesday 7th September 2016
A weird day – knowing that this was the last full day that we were going to spend together in over three weeks yet we had to get from Ayutthaya to Bangkok before we could actually make any plans on what to do. After our usual breakfast at the hostel, we said goodbye and walked to the mini bus station. Should have been relatively easy but, as we had repacked the bags so Jayne could return stuff to the UK, she was struggling with her heavy bag as I practically skipped, jumped and hoped down the road with my new (much lighter) load! Arrived at the mini bus, with Jayne looking considerably worse for wear having literally melted in the heat. Fortunately, we took the last three seats (one for our bag) and were quickly on our way back to Bangkok. Chatted the entire journey back to a Dutch man and his daughter who were on holiday celebrating the end of her exams and the imminent start of her medicine course in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Arrived at Victory Monument and made our way via the sky train to the airport to avail of their transfer service and check into our hotel. Decided to spend our last afternoon together at the cinema (so we can now OFFICIALLY say that we have visited a cinema in every country we have been to!). Tried to organise a taxi through the hotel to get us to the nearest train station but, since they wanted to charge us an extortionate price, we walked to the cross roads and got a motorbike taxi instead. Glad that they had helmets for the both of us, as I felt less safe travelling through the streets of Bangkok on a motorbike than I have on any other of our journeys! Got the sky train back into central Bangkok and headed to the mall to the cinema. Sorted out tickets before having the mammoth task of choosing a restaurant to have lunch from the hundreds of choices on offer. Choose a Japanese udon noodle bar which also did tempura items before stocking up on a massive Fanta and popcorn to watch ‘Now You See Me 2’.Not as good as the first film (although sequels rarely are) although it was funny to see Daniel Radcliffe making jokes about magic in his adolescent years… I’m always up for a Harry Potter reference! Headed back to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon snuggled up in bed, watching episodes of ‘Friends’.
Monday 13th June 2016
Woke up to the busy sounds of the street outside, still both slightly shattered from the past month in Myanmar. Took our time getting ready to leave, knowing that we couldn’t check in to our hostel in Ayutthaya until the afternoon so there was no rush to leave Bangkok. Used the hostel wifi to order a few bits and pieces for Jayne to pick up when she is back in the UK (Jayne accused me of having a ‘massive spending spree’) whilst she tried to purchase a website domain for our blog. Went for a shower in the communal bathroom and I clearly won the hostel shower lottery. In my cubical, someone had left some Aussie hair care products – my hair was in heaven!! Although it then decided to punish me for mistreating it so badly over the past few months by going incredibly curly and unruly! Packed up our bags – it feels very weird to be back to two big backpacks after 10 weeks of just having one. The nice man in the hostel reception let me print and scan my ‘voting by proxy’ form so I could email to my electoral officer to vote in the EU referendum whilst Jayne continued sorting out website/blog stuff. Left the hotel and made our way down the familiar streets to the BTS sky train. Forgot how quickly the ticket barriers close and am now sporting a lovely bruise on my leg! Got the train to Victory Monument and tried to find the mini bus to take us to Ayutthaya. Slightly difficult since neither of us could pronounce it properly and the first bus conductor looked at us blankly before he shouted at a lady to come help. Clearly not the first tourists to be totally useless, she pointed us in the right direction and four bus conductors later, we were in the right place!!! Bought a ticket for us (for 60 baht each – about £1.20) and another seat to stow our bags so we didn’t have to sit with them on our laps. Jayne, fortunately, got to sit in the air conditioned mini bus but since I had the door seat I had to wait until the bus was full and everyone onboard before I could get in! Wasn’t all bad as I got to people watch, which I love. Took about 20 minutes for the mini bus to sell all fourteen seats and once I got in, the driver started packing bags and boxes of stuff all around us… Really glad we splurged on the extra seat now as we could barely move as it was! Headed down the motorway towards Ayutthaya – a very dull journey – Jayne passed the time playing angry birds and I read my book. Arriving in Ayutthaya, we walked to our hostel and checked in. Think we might be the only guests but we have a huge room with a fridge, dining table, TV, air con and use of a washing machine for £10 a night! After 8 months of travelling, the washing machine is a luxury that I just can’t wait to use and abuse. Headed down the road for a late lunch, grabbing a bowl of pork noodles in a street cafe – the broth smelt incredible from the street (which is what lured us in) and it tasted amazing.A quick stop off at the ‘7-eleven’ to grab some water and Milo ice cream before heading back to the hostel for the afternoon. We were very boring and spent the afternoon taking it easy – reading books and playing games before heading out to the night market. Full of amazing food (deep fried crickets, chicken legs or mealworms anyone?!?) and weird fruit drink concoctions, we were overwhelmed with the choice for dinner. Decided to have a food crawl progressive dinner, we started with some fried pork which we ate in the park next to some of the ruins and the lake.We then had some Pad Thai Noodles before finishing off our meal with a raisin waffle and some Milo chocolate. Back at the hotel to watch some ‘Friends’ episodes before falling asleep.
Thursday 9th June 2016
Isn’t it always typical that the one morning you have to set an alarm to be awake at 7, the hostel staff decide that it is also the day they aren’t going to sing Buddhist chants from 6am onwards?!? Got up and showered before having a leisurely breakfast. Finished packing and headed to the Main Street to get a taxi to the airport. I was put in charge of negotiating the price (and as everyone knows, I’m rubbish at this!!!) so I was completely shocked when he offered 7,000 kyat – 3,000 less than what I was prepared to go to and 1,000 less than what Jayne wanted me to aim for… Score!!! He seemed slightly worried that we were going to take a long time to get there due to heavy traffic but we had given ourselves plenty of time and, knowing this, he relaxed!! Took us over an hour to get to the airport and it was plain sailing getting checked in, dropping off our main bags and heading through immigration. Scary looking staff were pulling people aside who had overstayed their visas… Used up the rest of our currency on some food and last minute presents before boarding the plane back to Bangkok. Having promised Jayne a Burger King all throughout our travels in Myanmar, we had lunch at the airport before getting a taxi to the hostel. Stayed at the same hostel we used the last time we were in Bangkok (3 years ago) and it hasn’t changed one bit – if it’s not broke, why fix it?!? Used the super fast wifi (ahhhhh… We’ve missed you decent wifi!) to upload various photos to blogs and do some research for the next few days in Thailand. Our stomachs started grumbling so we headed back out to the street to try and find our favourite street restaurant from 3 years ago… Clearly doing much better, the three tables we were used to, had spread to 22! The food was, as we remembered, phenomenal and we gorged ourselves on chicken Pad Thai noodles, chicken green Thai curry and spicy papaya salad. Lips slightly red from the spices, we stopped via the shop to grab some water before heading back to the hostel to Skype parents and go to sleep!
Wednesday 8th June 2016