We left for Ayutthaya around 6:50 a.m. and drove for about an hour. Along on the tour was Steven, from the Philippines but of Chinese decent, and Maxine, Lou, and their 16-year old son, from Australia.

The first stop was at Bang Pa-In, one of the summer palaces of the king of Thailand. Bang Pa-In is in Ayutthaya Province, 60 km north of Bangkok. Each building had a different cultural theme: French, Chinese, Cambodian, to name a few. I paid to rent a golf cart and Steven drove. He’s really friend, speaks excellent English, and traveling alone.

After we left the palace, we went to the Ayutthaya historical park. Most of the Buddhas had the heads removed from the Burmese invasion right before the city was abandoned as the capital.

At the elephant park, I took a ride, along with Steven. Afterwards, a baby elephant gave me a kiss with its trunk…it felt like a hoover vacuum cleaner was attached to my cheek! I also bought some tote bags that had paintings on them done by some elephants (I had seen this on a YouTube video).

After lunch, the guide said we had one more stop before heading back to our hotels. I pressed for details and asked if it was the jewelry factory. It was! Everyone in the van said, please no, been there, done that! So the driver graciously obliged us and we headed back. Of course, the traffic was horrible and we would sit for 10 minutes at a time without moving…which also meant, as fate would have it, that my bladder decided to give me grief. I didn’t think I’d make it, but I did. Can you spell RELIEF? Has to be one of the worst feelings ever.

I get back to my room to discover a fax from UPS slipped under my door. My medicine that William sent me has arrived, however customs won’t release it without a copy of my passport (which I have made one before I left home) and a certificate of medicine. Ut oh…don’t have that. I ask the front desk where I can get one and they tell me to go to hospital. They say it’s close and I can walk. So I do…and I walk…and walk…and walk…about 20 blocks away! Bad enough, but try it in 90-something degree, very humid weather! As my luck would have it, it’s too late in the day to get the certificate. I need to go back tomorrow. Crap. So now I’m thinking about the long walk back to the hotel and decide I was going to get a ride. A motorcycle taxi is right there and I ask how much. 40Bht, which is around $1.10. I didn’t have a helmet and he dodged in and out of the traffic, but it was fun! The breeze felt great and I would have paid more for that bit of enjoyment.

I canceled my temple tour for tomorrow since I have seen most of them already. I can sleep in, run to the hospital, contact UPS to get my medicine, and then maybe go shopping. After all, I’m very close to the mall.

PS – The one good thing about traveling alone…I find myself meeting lots of new people and really talking to them. Some things I learned…always carry my business cards, a pad of paper, and a pen. That way I can exchange contact info to swap photos of each other.

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