If it's Tuesday, it must be Ayuthaya. I flew from Chiang Mai this afternoon and got to the hotel here around 3:00 p.m. Nice flight on Thai Air. Short and smooth. My idea of flying.

Yesterday was a lot of fun in Chiang Mai. After I left the public library I headed south along the western wall of the city, to the Suan Dok gate, where I thought I'd have a look at a couple of the wats I missed in Sunday's tour. I would head east when I got to the gate and go over the moat into the city. When I got to the gate, I hung a right and headed for the wat. Now those of you who have been reading closely, will notice that I was walking south, turned right, and headed east. Wrong. When one is walking south, turning right means one is walking west. So I ended up at Wat Suon Dok, where I had been on Sunday. Along the way I just couldn't figure out why the landmarks on the map weren't showing up. Another Dykhuis story about directional impairment. So it goes. Anyway, it was a different experience and I took a few more photos, including one that I hope shows a time Doi Sutek up on the mountain. Supposedly this wat is where the elephant left from with the Buddha's bones, headed for the moutain. I did get a nifty photo of one of the monks.

After that I went back in the other direction and got to the wat I thought I was going to in the first place. I had been there on Sunday too but hadn't taken many good photos so I hung out and shot some more. While I was in one of the buildings, a troop of young monks in training came in. I thought maybe it was prayer time and they were going to kick us tourists out. Nothing of the sort. Instead, I got drafted to give an impromtu English lesson to about 10 young men. I guess they were 14-16 years old. Their English teacher had brought them in because he wanted to expose them to people other than Thai monks. Each of them had an interview form with questions they were supposed to ask me. Basic personal stuff like name, age, nationality, etc. They also included height and weight. In metric numbers of course. I did remember that there were 2.5 cm per inch so I was able to make that translation but had no idea how many kilograms to the pound. Not that it mattered much. They were all giggles and head scratching trying to figure it all out. We did manage to connect a couple of times. Talking sports with guys always works. They don't know baseball, which was my answer to my favorite sport. But they of course knew football. David Beckham apparently is an international name. And tennis is big. They knew Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick. I forgot to ask them about basketball. They may very well have known Michael Jordan.

After that I got caught in the rain. Again. Umbrella was securely locked in my hotel room. I ducked into a small restaurant for a snack and a beer. By that time, it had let up a bit and I got back to the hotel relatively dry.

I had dinner with David and his adopted son at an Italian restaurant that David suggested. It's pretty close to his house and since I'd had enough Thai food for awhile, it sounded like a great suggestion to me. We had a nice dinner and I bid David and Neung farewell. Then I strolled back toward the night bazaar. I wandered around for awhile, this time with my umbrella. Wandering back up the street, I came across a couple of Australian girls hopelessly lost and thinking that I was getting the hang of Chiang Mai, I pointed out on the map where we were. Feeling pretty good, I headed up the street. It became increasingly clear that I, too, gentle reader, was hopelessly lost. So much for having the hang of Chiang Mai.

I finally came to a main drag and hailed a tuk-tuk. We had a bit of language issue because he really didn't understand a word of English. I finally got through to him and we were off. Turns out I hadn't got through to him. We ended up at the Lotus superstore, not the Lotus Hotel. He pulled into a parking lot and I hauled out the small piece of hotel stationary I always carried with me for just such situations. He finally got it. He apologized profusely and waised (a "wais" is a traditional Thai gesture where you steeple your hands together just under the chin) all over the place.

Then a store worker approached him and they chatted for a couple of minutes. He turned to me and asked if it was ok for him to take another passenger. I said sure. I thought it was the woman who needed a ride. But it was another customer. A customer with a new Panasonic TV in a big box. We managed to wedge the box into the tuk-tuk and off we sped, me and TV in back, driver and passenger in front. I have no idea where we got off to. We were on some big, busy four-lane highway for a while. Then we got a residential area that looked rather poor and shabby. After navigating many narrow twisting side streets we stop and unload the TV. We left the TV and its owner by the side of the road in the rain. I assume he had help moving it into the house.

I could tell the driver was asking directions. He obviously hadn't been in this neighborhood before either. After a few wrong turns and a couple of U-turns we finally got back to the highway and headed for the hotel. By this time the rain is coming down pretty hard and I'm catching a gentle mist in the back seat. None of these things have windshield wipers. They don't even have proper windshields. A sheet of plastic is more like it. Anyway, we're cruising down the highway, passing a bunch of cars and soon I start to recognize a few landmarks. Finally, we got back to the hotel. He was still apologizing and waising after I got out and walked into the hotel.

I gotta admit that I had a few quesy moments where were driving down those dark, twisty residential streets. But by that time, there wasn't much to be done except hang on for the ride.

Now I'm in Ayuthaya, the old capital of the country. It looks much less cosmopolitan than Chiang Mai and I found only one Internet cafe within walking distance of the hotel. In Chiang Mai, I had my choice of 3 or 4, not to mention the public library. But the hotel looks nice and it's some place new to explore. And get hopelessly lost in.


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