Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
15Trip End Mar 07, 2010
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Where I stayed
"What do you mean it's 11.30!?". Oh crap! Totally overslept. That's jetlag for you. Missed hotel breakfast. They were very nice to us and gave us coffee to wake us up! We'd also run over the automatic cancellation time for all our reserved train tickets for the rest of the holiday! We ran to the station in the already very hot midday sweat of Bangkok. The only part of the station that is air conditioned is the reserved ticket area. I guess only spoilt foreigners book tickets! The man was very nice to us. After a quick phonecall, some confusion about the imaginary 3rd person he thought was with us, we got all our tickets. We left in relief, packed our bags in storage, and took a taxi to the Grand Palace.
The Grand Palace is not done justice to in photos. It's impossible to capture simultaneously the sheer size and spendor alongside the incredible detail of the mosaic decoration
We spent about 3 hours looking around the Grand Palace
We decided to get a boat along the river back to the train station. This was a great move - it's cheaper and quicker than the taxis on the road. The way the boat operates typifies the hurry of Bangkok life. The boats barely dock at each stop - they just sort of bounce off the landing stages and you have a couple of seconds to jump on or off or it's gone! The Thai people make this couple seconds look like an age but for all the middle-aged westerners this was a bit of a source of panic! The river was choppy and lots long tailed boats sped up and down. It was actually a great way to see the city and I wouldn't have minded staying on for more than the 5 stops that we did. But we had a train to catch.
We had noodles and iced tea before boarding the overnight train to Chiang Mai. The 1st class cabin is not exactly the height of luxury but it's relatively clean and comfortable and even has a little sink. More Singha beers before the guard put our beds together. My alarm is set. If we don't get up in time tomorrow we may well end up in Laoes or China!