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I thought I might be having a problem with my bank account and didn't feel comfortable leaving Bangkok until I got it cleared up. I changed to a credit union shortly before starting this trip and it turned out the old bank had a different procedure for posting transactions. My credit union posts as the doors open at the beginning of each business day where as the old bank posted every day. Good information and good to know everything is just fine financially.
With my banking in order, I rode back to the train station to get on board for a trip to Ayutthaya. Bangkok is too big and congested to try and bike out of. This time there wasn't any question about whether Myrtle would go. My ticket was 15 baht ($.50) and Myrtle's was 90 baht ($2.90). A pretty good deal for 65 mile transport. I was on a commuter train with only fans and open windows. There was one section that was so dusty I actually used my face mask and arrived in Ayutthaya seriously needing a shower.
I found a hotel just over the river onto this small island between rivers. They had a 24 hour security guard out front and I got checked in for $22. After getting settled, I went out to look for dinner and almost next door was an IH hostel. My experience with hostels is they always offer tour packages and cater to travelers. I went in to this adorable place and got the information I was looking for booking an English speaking guide for 4 hours the next morning. They had a much better rate for a room too and I booked in for the next night for $14. I wasn't so thrilled with keeping Myrtle outside all night and asked if I could bring her over and they were agreeable. Nice!
I found a wonderful night market and tried many new foods. Eventually, I sat down for a bowl of fantastic soup at a table with locals. There were a couple of young Thai gals visiting from Bangkok that spoke English and we had a nice meal together. They ended up paying my check too. Really nice!
When I returned to the hotel I was happy I made other arrangements for Myrtle because the security guard was missing. I was kinda kicking myself for not riding just a 100 meters farther to the hostel in the first place. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
The next morning I went down for the included breakfast but there wasn't any. I slept well and the room was very comfortable with good wifi but not getting breakfast was disappointing. I'm sure I must have misunderstood the receptionist. It happens quite often that I think I hear something and it turns out to mean something else. I really do believe people are doing their best.
I moved over to the hostel and was picked up by Mr. Pok, my guide for the day. He took me to many temples giving me a lot of history. It was a very enjoyable 4 hour tour around the island temples and the Buddha in the tree. He asked for my birthday date and told me what day I was born on. Everyday of the week has it's own Buddha and my Buddha, Saturday, sits cross-legged on a dragon. At one point, I was in a temple and taking pictures. A older monk hit me over the head with a rolled up newspaper. Then I touched him on the arm to show how sorry I was. OMB! ( Oh my Buddha), was I in trouble. My temple etiquette is sorely lacking and Mr. Pok quietly escorted me out. Later, I took another tour by boat to more temples. I really enjoyed this although it was challenging getting in and our of the boat at every stop. My right hip flexor has been very tight and sore over the last few days. I have a feeling it's from walking around Bangkok for a week in flip-flops. I did get a massage later at the hostel. This was amazing. A woman came over and gave me an hour treatment for $5. If it wasn't already so late I would have scheduled another hour.
The next morning my hip flexor felt more relaxed and I decided to get going. Today's route would take me to Lop Buri. I started out and my GPS took me into a marketplace. This was crazy. It was a covered market with roads going through it. People were filleting fish and stacking fruit while scooters were blazing passed. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way across a river and ended up back-tracking a few blocks to another road. This road took me passed an elephant farm. I stopped to take pictures and one elephant came over to say 'hi'. There was a trainer on board and he watched as the elephant sniffed my arm with his trunk. I was able to pet the elephant too. That was a really fun stop.
I continued on a very flat route along rice fields with water buffaloes and egrets. A couple of Dutch cyclists rolled up. This was the first tourers I've met in Thailand. They were also headed to Lop Buri and we exchanged information. While we were talking a cat jumped on Myrtle as if expecting to come along. A bit farther I stopped for something to eat. It isn't always obvious what a place has to offer. There was a woman selling food from a motorized tricycle. She had noodles with veggies in a bag that looked promising but she also had something in a styrofoam container. It looked like a folded pancake and I bought one. This was a wonderful banana pancake and perfect cycle food. Later I stopped again and had spicy stir-fried veggies with rice .Great food today.
Eventually, I made it to Lop Buri. This town is also known as 'Monkey City'. There were so many monkeys that it was creepy. There were monkeys crossing the street, on cars, climbing telephone poles and all over buildings. They were jumping, fighting and screaming at each other. At first, it was amazing to see so many monkeys all over the place but after a while I became uneasy. While I was watching the monkeys, the Dutch cyclists rolled up again. They, too, were freaked out by the monkeys. There are a few hotels in this area and I decided against staying at any of them because of the monkeys. Luckily, the monkeys seem to be contained to a small area of the city.
I ended up at the Lop Buri Residence Hotel for $19.75 which does include breakfast. They locked Myrtle in a storage room and helped bring my bags to the room. The wifi is the strongest I've ever had on this trip. Pictures were uploaded super fast and I had a lot of pictures to upload.
Today's ride started a new section of exploring the north of Thailand. I've always wanted to see this area and am really looking forward to the upcoming few weeks on my way to Chiang Mai.
Ayutthaya to Lop Buri
Rik and Margoliem, a dutch couple, staring at all the monkeys.
Elephants on the road.
Khmer influenced ruins.
Boat ride around Ayutthaya.
Buddha in the tree. The cement head is growing in the roots.