Saturday, January 23, 2010
I’ve been in Ayuttayah a couple of days now. I’d been here before, during my 2005 trip, and it was only when I heard it from the bus driver’s mouth that I realised I’d been wrongly pronouncing it for five years. It’s not Eye-you-TIE-ah, it’s A-YOO-ta-yah.
I got here from Kanchanburi on two local buses. The first had the kind of psychedelic interior that would have made Timothy Leary proud and the second just looked as old as Leary was when he died.
A couple of hours into the journey, some hawkers got on board offering food and drink to the passengers. Feeling peckish because I’d skipped breakfast, that was when I discovered the delights of bits of cold chicken on cocktail sticks and some cold rice in a small clear plastic bag.
The cheap room I’m in doesn’t have wifi but it does at least have electrical sockets, so yesterday I caught up on important business like reading an ebook and discovering the delights of the Windows 7 Media Centre on my new laptop. When I went out it was to buy a train ticket and to drift around the air-conditioned and very Westernised shopping mall.
Why am I here? Because it puts me in the right spot to catch a sleeper train tomorrow night to the northeast Thai city of Khon Kaen, which is a few hours away from the Lao border and has a Lao consulate where hopefully I can pick up a visa on Monday morning.
Today I hired a bike and went looking round Ayuttayah’s ancient temples, the same as I did five years ago. I’ve just been looking through my old photo album on Facebook to see how many times I’ve repeated myself pictorially.
It’s funny how much I’ve forgotten about the places I’ve been, and how each one produces a strange mixture of déjà vu and fresh excitement. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ll be pedalling across to some more before I leave.