Up at a reasonable hour and off to the restaurant for breakfast. I tried some tomato jelly and it was quite good! E also used Alice’s pancakes to feed the fish next to our table. Then we headed out to the bus for the long drive to Bangkok.
We made our first stop at Wat Maha Dhat – a riverside temple with a very nice Buddha image. There were lots of food shops around and the place was pretty complex – we almost lost the bus but got back before they could get away!
We continued along making one stop for gas and snacks then stopped at Cha – Ba Lagoon for lunch – a nice restaurant in a very jungle setting – next to a large pond and vines and flowers everywhere. Food was OK. Kitty thought the fish looked like snail meat.
Back on the road again we went through a couple of providences. While the trip was quite long we were amused because they had many large statues of birds and fish placed at turn around spots along the highway. Well maintained trees and many flower bushes were quite well kept as well.
The roads themselves were also very well kept but the people are still getting used to motorized travel. A law that you wear a helmet when on a motorbike – but almost no one did. Also not infrequent to see motorbikes going the wrong way down a street. Or seeing motorcyclists carrying their babies on their lap as they drive along. Or having three or even four on one bike.
Lots of other interesting scenes along the roadway – different types of houses. Rice fields – being planted, just harvested, or fully ripe. Also corn and banana and a bit of sugar cane. Almost every house, store, business, construction site, or random spot had a spirit house set up to bring luck. We passed stores where they sold them – pre-painted in a wide range of colors.
After a bit we drove into Ayutthaya, the second capital of Siam. At the center is Wat Chaiwattanaram, built to honor the king’s mother and based on the design of the temple at Angkor Wat. It was abandoned in 1758 due to the treat of Burmese invasion and burned, and the capital moved to Bangkok. Looters went through and collected most of the things that had value. It’s being reconstructed and is a UN World Heritage Site.
Beside the many stupas there were about 100 broken statues of Buddha – all the heads gone and the gold leaf stripped away. The place had a million citizens before it was abandoned, and now it has only 600,000. An amazing place.
We continued on to Bangkok arriving around 5:30. We went to our rooms, cleaned up a bit, then went to the lobby to ask the concierge for a restaurant recommendation – he suggested Harmonique and we went – about 200 yards from the hotel down an alley. It was quite nice and had an authentic eastern feel – looked like it was out of an old movie. Anyway, a very nice meal then back to the room to rest up for tomorrow’s adventure!