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Post 304: Road to Ayutthaya ....

The post Songkran rains had stopped and it was time to start moving again. I was heading for Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam. According to my map, Ayutthaya is just two hundred kilometres East, but a less interesting two hundred kilometres would be difficult to imagine. Bored with everything that the highway didn’t have to offer, I decided to leave the main roads behind and head out across country. That probably wasn’t the wisest decision of my life. The journey became far more interesting, but mostly on account of the three consecutive punctures. Fortunately in Thailand, you’re never too far from a tyre repair shop and even in the back-end-of-beyond, I didn’t have to ride any more than a few kilometres on a flat.

The first repair reveals that absence of a rim tape to protect the inner tube from the sharp end of the spokes, just a single layer of insulation tape. The young mechanic chats away excitedly in Thai as he goes about his business and I try to nod and smile in all of the right places. Thirty minutes later and the little Honda is good to go. New rim tape, two patches on the tube and 2 Litres of petrol from the Hong Thong and 100 Pipers whiskey bottles on his fuel rack. Total price, 100 Baht (£1) ….. mai pen rai

I decide to move back onto the Highway and within a few kilometres, I come across one of the weirdest places that I’ve found on the journey so far. Just outside of Sarraburi, I pass the entrance to what I think is a vast temple complex. I have no option but to explore, it’s part of my contract with life. It seems not to be a temple, but more of a deserted adventure park. It’s difficult to tell really. There are plenty of signs, but all are written in Mandarin and Thai. Dyslexia might help me to unravel anagrams, but it certainly doesn’t help here. The photograph shows an ’attraction’ close to the entrance. You climb into the concrete Tiger’s mouth, exit through it’s anus and then climb to the comedy Buddha at the top. Hilarious ….. mai pen rai

It’s taken me seven hours to cover the two hundred kilometres to Ayutthaya. Three punctures and endless police roadblocks didn’t help, but perhaps the main reason that it’s taken me so long is the fact that I’ve somehow ridden more than three hundred kilometres to get here. I’m hot, sunburnt and dehydrated, but as I ride into Ayutthaya in search of a cheap hotel, all of the punctures and kilometres are forgotten. In front of the railway station I see a line of Ayutthaya’s unique style of taxis. I’ve arrived in Toy Town and it’s hard not to smile ….. mai pen rai

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