OR CHILLING ON THE WAY TO AYUTTHAYA AND YES, I CAN DO GIRLIE.
At last I had a plan for the final part of my long Trans Siberian Express trip. I would check out a place steeped in history, archeology and museums up inland in central Thailand- Ayutthaya.
Well I needed more chill time after my recuperation in KK. so I booked a flight to Bangkok and stayed there the night at yet another airport hotel. On this occasion I knew the place and it was immaculate and quiet. It also was in a neighbourhood with a local market and the people were a delight. I then booked a retreat half way to Ayutthaya in a place called IngNatee Resort. There I would do some yoga looking over the Chao Phraya River. I would meditate and eat clean food in a Zen situation and write my journal while looking over my small lake in a very calm way. Then, replenished, I would go to Ayutthaya Retreat and stay in its magnificent teak buildings being just a stones throw (or a short tuk tuk ride) to the Central Historical Park.
Organised but hungry now, I went out and had some delicious Thai soup in the open air market, then bought beers and hastily retired to my room, the heat being gob smacking. Air con on, I sat on my tiny terrace and drank beer and smoked fags while spying on all and sundry. I saw the little restaurant below ready to open, huge bundles of fresh herbs and greens being delivered and all sorts of laughing and joking and banter from them all. It was comforting and reassuring to be back here and I was ready for the following days trip. In the evening I went to that restaurant and it was a half covered area filled with bird cages, old bric a brac, chipped huge pots and bowls (some of them with fish in), stuffed toys and three electric fans. A TV was on very loudly for an old deaf lady to see some dreadful Thai soap opera then they realised it was getting a bit much as new customers were coming in they turned all the electricity off pretending there had been a power cut so they could take the octogenarian off without her complaining. That being done my food came out and so I ate a rather boring meal after all, the old bird dramas had been the entertainment of the night.
Chilling out in IngNatee Resort.
When my cab pulled up in the drive I could see I had booked well. A very Zen lady and gentleman greeted me and checked me in in a very calm an elegant reception overlooking a small lake. The quiet was wonderful as was the cool welcome drink. As soon as I got to my little house on the other side of the carp lake I fell in love. I had a large front room with sofas and a table where I could write and an adjoining kitchenette provided with a selection of herbal teas. On the other side of the double doors was a large bedroom and bathroom with a hand built a bath and basin painted in a soft yellow. In front of all of this was a deck overlooking what I now considered, my lake. I am, if nothing else, a very territorial old bird.
As the mild mannered lady explained where the pool was and how you could borrow bicycles to ride around the area I saw some greenhouses (of a kind) She told me that’s where they grow a lot of their herbs and veg and they also grew their own mushrooms. If I wanted I could also collect my eggs in the morning for my breakfast. Yoga took place by the pool next to the river by arrangement. The gardens were beautiful and had a large collection of antique farm equipment. S I had my temporary Eutopia and got stuck in.
Although doing some yoga by the river was a great stress reliever, I think that writing my journal in an air conditioned room overlooking my lake with the occasional scarily large carp jumping for some treat they had spied hovering over the water, was even better. I re-centred and my brain became more still. Starting to make order of the many things that had been happening was very therapeutic as was gazing at the chicken coop that was built over the water to keep the birds cool, peering into the mushroom tent gloom to see how they were doing and checking on my herbs in the covered garden.
I used to go to the empty restaurant and as it got dark would look at my little house with some pride while eating their fresh organic dinner and drinking some of the rather pricey French wine I had them bring in. With just the insects buzzing and splish splash of the carp at night time, it was serene and beautiful if sometimes a little scary, after all I was the only person there apart from the owners……. most of the time.
In the evening I would try to catch the sun setting over the river before dinner and watch the large clumps of vegetation floating by along with a steady stream of boats. Calm prevailed.
Of course mischief is never far behind me and a rest is a rest is a rest. I was ready for my history, palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues in the historic capital of Siam, Ayutthaya. First though my next retreat hotel in all its teaky glory.
Now if you’re like me you can rough it with the rest but if offered a princess room you will swoon. I can do girlie too you know!
I was received at the retreat with all pomp and ceremony of old school hospitality. The check in was painless and I went straight to my room over excited and in heaven with sight of all the art and antiques that adorned only what can be described as a teak palace. I gasped when I saw my fairy tale room and the air con was as crisp and beautiful in this highly humid part of the country, as my bed linen. Although rested I wanted to stay a day in this beautiful place and soak it up before some hard core exploration of the old capital of Siam.
Going down to the restaurant and bar I espied another lake in the centre with a fountain around which were decking pathways above the water and a huge number of side rooms with plump richly coloured cushions and richly carved furniture. There were small waterfalls and hammocks and even a small wooden boat that you could take to the middle of the lake (more of a lake pond really). There was a bridge with lights over and a discreet swimming pool at the end behind some screening.
Although my days would mostly be out looking at the UNESCO site I would leave early and come back early. Such was the heat that you wanted to relaxing by late lunch. The heat in this area is very humid as it’s at the river basin and I would guess that’s why they all star lakes at their centre despite the mosquitoes, they have to. This labyrinth holds many eccentric wonders and even up til the last day I was discovering new nooks and crannies with yet more art and antiques.
I met eclectic people there. The owner walked around smoking and pondering his realm and his next audacious plans. He was finally renovating yet another section for god knows what. His imagination and enthusiasm to do right by this place knew no bounds. He would always press his brand of cigarettes on me looking at me curiously every time I took one checking if I really liked his brand or not, then tell me the latest on how things were going and what new things were in the pipeline. Then off he’d go to nudge along some workers then stand back and have a good old think about his next design eyed squinted with concentration.
So this was my home for the next six days with its beauty and serenity and, just well, fabulousness!