Not the most energetic of mornings. In fact, I slept on and off until about 10am which never happens. Had to remind myself that we have been traveling for 11 months now and not a week. I think that Australia was so ‘easy’ that it felt like being back at home whereas, in reality, we have done so much that it won’t kill either of us to have a lie in!
The town we are in flourished from the mid-13th century to the late 14th century. Known as the ‘Sukhothai (Rising of Happiness) Kingdom’, that period is often viewed as the golden age of Thai civilisation, and the religious art and architecture of the era are considered to be the most classic of Thai styles. The remains of the kingdom, today known as meu-ang gów (old city) features around 45 sq km of partially rebuilt ruins, which are one of the most visited ancient sites in Thailand. However, we decided to skip the ancient city for today as neither of us had the energy or attention levels to visit our 55th UNESCO site and really appreciate it so we decided to visit the new town instead.
Slowly getting ready, we walked into town past the river with its banks almost at bursting point. The water was about a foot away from the top of the wall and there were sand bags placed at certain sections were the wall was clearly slightly compromised… As water started trickling out behind it! Stopped by the tourist information centre to ask if there was a laundry nearby for us to do some washing only to find that it was closed and they were pumping river water out from their garden back into the river as quickly as the river was depositing more water back into the garden…
Decided that we weren’t going to get very far with all the flooded roads so we opted for an early lunch (or late second breakfast) in Poo. The lady in the restaurant pointed us in the direction of a laundry so, as Jayne ordered our food, I went and dropped off our clothes. Walking through the town after lunch we watched men fishing in the relief rivers and people going about their everyday business. For a tourist town, they clearly aren’t used to tourists walking around the new section! Our walk brought us out near the bus station so we decided to buy our tickets back to Bangkok for Sunday before continuing our walk.
Found a temple, but we have no idea what the name is as its not mentioned in the guidebook or on any map, which was a beautifully decorated Chinese style temple complete with dragons. Even though it was deserted, there was a chimney full of burning offerings and incense burning from sand pots. Around the corner and over the bridge we stopped at another temple, Wat Ratchathani, which was clearly also having issues with flooding as the monks looked like they were walking on water as they crossed the site. Even the chickens were using the planks of wood that had been placed down to make the path accessible. Another beautiful temple, we found a quiet seat to sit and admire it in the quiet and calm. The only other thing to do in town was visit the museum which was 3km away – deciding that it was getting too late in the day to walk there and neither of us wanted to begin negotiations with a TukTuk, we made the hard decision to go back to the guesthouse and use the swimming pool instead – it was a really tough decision!! We messed around in the water until the sun set before going back to our room to get dressed and head out for dinner. Tried to find the night market to get something to eat. Think we walked past it – it was a handful of stalls, nothing like what was described in the Lonely Planet. Not sure whether it has moved as our MapsMe app said we were in the right place, we decided to cut our losses and went back to ‘Poo’. A couple of curries and a game of monopoly later, we stopped by 7-Eleven to grab some ice creams and headed back to our room for some ‘Modern Family’.
Finally pulled our finger out today and got busy planning the next couple of months travelling. Not entirely sure where our motivation had gone over the past few days – feel like our bodies need a rest after flying round Australia at 100 miles per hour! Anyway, with a new found vigour, we got about researching, planning and booking. Have decided to utilise our free 30-day Thai visa by, hopefully, visiting some more UNESCO sites here before heading over to Cambodia. I say hopefully as the first site we looked at seems impossible to visit without either a. a car or b. lots of money! Still got my fingers crossed for that elusive lottery win. As I hung out a load of laundry on the rooftop terrace, Jayne sorted out some lunch for us. We had got some noodle pots from the shop yesterday and happily munched away on those as we chatted about what information we had both found about our proposed itinerary. I even attempted the noodles in the foil lid bowl (as seen in Tasmania) but I failed epically and got soup everywhere!! More planning in the afternoon, checking the train times for tomorrow heading to Kanchanburi (the death railway) and booking accommodation in the town for when we arrive. Research interspersed with Facebook, Candy Crush and chatting to ninja twin on messenger along with packing up our clean clothes was the remainder of our day. Headed out to our usual street restaurant for dinner, both deciding to try something new on the menu. Feel like Jayne ended up with the nicer dish out of the two of us with her Thai red curry (not too different!) although my chicken with ginger was pretty good. Treated ourselves to a shared dessert of sticky rice and mango before heading back to the hostel to relax for the rest of the evening. Saturday 10th September 2016
We stayed hid in our room until Tracey had left for work, like rabbits in a warren until the danger has passed. Except, Tracey isn’t a danger unless she’s driving the outback or doesn’t have a morning coffee. It’s just best not to get in the way when someone has a morning routine and needs to get to work. Our usual morning routine took considerably less time than the last few mornings, with jobs to do and things to plan over the next few weeks and months. Using the opportunity with the last bit of guaranteed good wifi we were stuck on computers and iPads for most of the day whilst Katherine got to the bottomless pit of washing and sorting out bags, including what we were going to post back to the UK.
It was during the day of catching up on blog photos that we realised that we had filled up our 3GB allowance of data on WordPress. Thus, we had to upgrade to site. The payment, as one might expect, was a simple matter. Everyone is very quick to take your money. The tricky, stressful and slow going affair was transferring the domain name from GoDaddy to Google so that I could then safely link the new domain name to the WordPress account. A complicated account of proceeding would bore everyone except a true nerd and there was probably a much simpler technique had I been more in practice. The end result however spoke for itself, the new website is up and running and with a catchy title to boot… ‘transtravels.world’.
With everything now back on track for the day, I wanted to make sure we had all of Tracey’s photos and she had all of ours. An antique netbook with high speed external hard drives equates to snail paced transfers and I sorted out some packing in between folders of photos.
Katherine cooked dinner (and none of us died!) although it was a simple meal of chicken pesto pasta using up the left over chicken breasts from last nights BBQ. A yellow food day with no signs of vegetables or fruit. Well, there were three vegetables – couch potatoes – watching Zumbo’s Just Deserts on tv and channel hopping for the evening while chatting. Tracey hit the hay and we finished packing for the next leg of our adventure.
The gentleman who was huffy about our late return to the dorm last night was a right piece of work. Alarm going off at 06:00, stumbling off the top bunk and causing a ruckus to find said phone and turn off the infernal tune was more of a pain than we were the night before. Plus, he woke us all up and we didn’t wake anyone up as no one was yet asleep. Rant over!!!
Free pancakes was a better start to the day and we shall miss them. A nice warm shower… things starting to go well. But, back to the room and the French girl I think is a bit peeved that I keep moving her stuff. She has taken up a zone around the bed and under the ladder that Katherine uses to get in to bed (moved all that) and a space on top of the storage cupboards that was spreading like a bacteria (moved that shit too). It says everywhere not to do this in a hostel and then she tries to assert her dominance by being a pain in the ass. To add icing to the cake, she ‘pretends’ to be asleep so we gratuitously take all our stuff outside to pack and get ready for the day. Two seconds after we leave the room she’s awake and opening the curtains. Grrrrr! I would have been justified in slapping her or letting Kat tongue-lash her in French.
Roller coaster of a day was now in full swing. I went off to use the high speed computer terminals in the shopping centre to work on the beauty clinic website. Katherine was doing laundry before our flight. The computers were an expensive waste of time. With seconds to spare I managed to only edit two tiny sections and get them published and I have no idea how they look in mobile view editor. I returned defeated. Katherine was working hard on blogs and watching Olympics on the big screen so it was almost an even trade off.
I relented and went to buy the camera. But, I have never (and probably never will), bought a camera without something thrown in to the bargain. Normally an SD card, the shop were more interested in just a discount. So I bargained and effectively paid just $5 for a hot shot mount – an accessory to screw in to the top of the camera where the strobe would go and I can attach the GoPro to it without the usual fuss.
All packed and on the way to the airport, we saw parts of Cairns that we hadn’t yet seen and we weren’t really missing much. Pre booked back at the hostel it was simple to check in and zoomed through security. Compulsory wander through the gift shop I found another computer terminal. Let’s just say… hopeless. A fancy Apple monitor and software with a Microsoft keyboard, there wasn’t a single thing you could work on/ do on the computer except browse the web. Why have them there when everyone was using free wifi and we just paid to use a computer. Ugh, I despair.
Flying over some stunning mountain ranges, vast expanses of ocean and over forests with controlled bush fires we touched down in Darwin. Katherine had fun at the baggage reclaim when a few kids pushed past to stand right in front of the conveyor belt and block everyone else. While making faces to me about her pet peeve, the mother thought she was furious and was totally embarrassed by her kids. But, did she say anything. Nope!At several points we could have walked to the YHA quicker than waiting for the shuttle bus to get us there. It kept passing it or going down alleys or parallel streets to other hotels and backpacker hostels and we grew apprehensive that he had forgotten the four of us left on the bus. But, it was the conversation piece between ourselves and Louise at the hostel and before long the three of us were on our way back up to the main shopping area to grab some dinner. Finding a delightful Vietnamese restaurant, not only did we order amazing Pho, but they translated Happy Birthday into Vietnamese so we could wish Ha some salutations. A nice end to the day, as alls well that ends well. Friday 12th August 2016