13th January 2012
Cycling back from the hotel to the river crossing in Ayutthaya complete with rucksacks and children (thank goodness we’d only packed two bags and not all our kit) we dropped the bikes off and boarded the river ferry to get to the train station. We waited for the train to arrive, the boys running back and forth along the tracks, and us chilling in the station along with a hundred or so other passengers, a quarter of which were westerners. Jumping on board we rode the length of the tracks to Bangkok, whiling away the hours playing Uno and looking out of the window.
Arriving at the station we tried in vain to find a taxi willing to take us to Suk 11 but all of them were out of gas, or not available, and so we ended up taking a tuk-tuk….
and after settling back in again, Oskar amused himself with the Gorilla camera mount and the Lumix with some nice results.
Dinner and early to bed.
14th January 2012 – Jim Thompson’s House
When we had been in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, we came across the name Jim Thompson. He was an American who made his name in Bangkok reviving the art of silk weaving in Thailand and championing their traditional architecture. He disappeared in the Cameron Highlands and has never been seen again. In Bangkok is his house which he made from 4 or 5 traditional Thai houses which he connected together to make a rather unusual Thai house with the connections between the rooms covered over. It is now a museum and there is a foundation in his name which carries on the promotion of weaving and traditional building.
We were welcomed by some lovely hostesses who asked us to wait for the next English-speaking tour. Whilst we waited they kept the boys amused by making origami birds for them, and paper airplanes. After 20 mins our guide arrived and we walked around this wonderful wooden house, learning of its provenance. One very interesting part was the astrological reading that Jim Thompson had asked for to ensure the house was “safe” to move into. It gave the date to move in, and also it also predicted that he would need to be careful around his 61st birthday – which is the year he disappeared in Malaysia.
The house was really special, all wood, with innovative uses for doors and windows that were now inside converted to alcoves to display the many statues and pictures that he collected over the years. Worth a visit if you are ever in Bangkok.
We headed back to the hotel on foot and stumbled across a creative arts centre. There was a photo exhibition on the top two floors – some of which showed the recent flooding from the air, and a floor dedicated to natural disasters and our responses to them.
Some beautiful photos, and a nice way to spend an hour or so. The natural disaster displays were challenging and informative.
15th January 2012
Our last day in Bangkok and we felt we couldn’t call our visit complete without a trip to Chatuchak weekend market. The approach was through a rather lovely park with lots of play things for the kids, and then we emerged into chaos. Big, dirty, noisy, smelly and thronging with people. It was hot inside the narrow alleys lined with jeans and leather shops, crocodile skin nicknacks, flip flops, fake gear all over, and of course jewellery at every turn. As a spectacle it was quite overwhelming, and with the kids in tow impossible to browse. But on the other hand, on a hot day with so many people, it really wasn’t number 1 on of my list of things to do :o) Besides, the market wasn’t selling the things we were looking for.
Leaving the noise behind we went back to the park, and the boys set about burning their energy in the late afternoon sunshine.
Then it was packing and early to bed as we were leaving for Poipet and Cambodia in the morning and that meant getting up at 4am. However, after several beers and a very lengthy chat with some very amiable French guys, we finally managed to get to bed at 1am… ah well! Best laid plans and all that.