Our blog for our trip to the far east. Taking in Singapore, Thailand, Laos and home before and after we leave

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Saturday 1st April,
A shop with inernet access at Ao Nang, near Krabi, Thailand

It' been a hectic few days. We returned from Vientiane to Nong Khai on Wednesday. The trip back over the border is a lot quicker than going the other way. The rest of the day we didn't do much (OK, that wasn't one of the hectic few). At about 4am the next morning the area was hit by an incredible storm, and sounded like the whole guesthouse was being blown away, or drowned. We had horizontal spray coming in our room due to the wind blowing through the fly screen, at least until the shutters blew shut. Next morning I was expecting to see a Katrina-like scene of devastation, but all the mess had been cleared up by the staff by the time we'd got up. And by mess I mean merely a load of loose leaves. Apparently it was very unusual.

The next day was the coolest we've seen all trip, so made a good climate for visiting temples, and the nearby sculpture park. The temples were farily impressive, but once you've seen more than four you become a bit blase about them. The sculpture park, however, was incredible. They were created by some Lao bloke after he stumbled onto a hermit or something, and depict various Buddhist and Hindu-related images and deities. They vary from the gargantuan: Buddha sheltered by the Naga god at 100ft high; the profound: the walk-through wheel of life with varous aspects of life and death displayed in life-size proportions; to the downright surreal: a lifesize elephant being harassed by a crowd of anthropomorphic dogs, most of which in an alarming state of priapism.

That evening we were on the night train, which we originally planned to catch to Bangkok before flying down to Krabi, but decided to get off at Ayutthaya, the former capital of Siam with a huge number of ruins from that period. The train meant we had to be in bed by 8 since this was when the steward assembled everyone's beds, and to our horror we discovered it didn't have food on board so it was a long and hungry night. Sleep was quite fitful on board as is the case with sleepers, and we were awake at 5am to be ready for our stop at 5-45. It arrived about 30 mins late. The town was buzzing even at the time we arrived, and we wnet up to a guesthouse to leave our stuff while we did some sightseeing. It was a good way to pass the few hours before we needed to be at the airport (which, incidentally, would have taken exactly the same lenght of time to reach from central Bangkok as from Ayutthaya by bus).

One bus, one three quarters of an hour late plane (it's those Air Asia people again), and one extortionately expensive taxi later and we were in Ao Nang Beach where the first thing we wanted was a nice shower having been travelling for over 24 hours. Our hotel is pretty good, with a big roomd, air/con and a fantastic pool, and a great shower. Actually the shower is nothing special, but after a night train and an Air Asia flight it is probably one of the best things on Earth. The next thing we wanted was BBQ fish on the beach: one of the greatest things on Earth. We found an amazing bar at the far end of the beach in the shadow of awesome limestone cliffs (which are everywhere around here it has to be said) where we saw out the rest of the night.

The sun is about to set and we are facing west. Sunsets is another of the best things on earth, so I'll continue about today later. I feel a Singha coming on


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