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Running away from Home

New Town, New Hotel and Thai Cuisine 101

THAILAND | Monday, 18 January 2010 | Views [315]

I said goodbye to Ayutthaya this morning with the hopes that someday when I had more money, I could come back and do a sunset cruise on the Chao Praya river. I opted for private transportation to Kanchanaburi instead of public. There is no direct public transportation linking the two towns and so you can go miles and miles out of the way on a provincial bus, or you can pay an extra couple of hundred Baht and go private. The door to door service is also a nice little perk.

I was hoping to find something inexpensive in the way of a room so that I could afford bus fares and entrance fees to national parks. Fortune smiled upon me as I was deposited at my hotel of choice (always a pig in a poke, even with a guidebook). Someone had just checked out of one of the fan rooms (300 THB) and it would be available after the housekeeping staff got done with it. I sat down in their restaurant and ordered lunch. The menu was about 100 pages long and I noticed that they had a lot of western food. There were many places in town that catered to western tastes. Thai food was still offered, of course, but so were burgers and fries, fish and chips, bangers and mash. I decided that I wasn’t that homesick just yet, so I ordered coconut milk soup with chicken. Something about Thai cuisine that I discovered; just because something is floating in your soup, doesn’t mean you should eat it. Back home you could eat anything ladled out in your soup bowl, except for the odd bay leaf, and Mom was always good about warning us of it’s existence. “Watch out for the bay leaf.” In coconut milk soup, most of the vegetation, peppers, etc is to add flavor. The full realization of this struck me when I crunched down on what I thought was a water chestnut. It turned out to be a big chunk of ginger. There is nothing wrong with the taste of ginger, but when you are expecting a water chestnut…. Anyway, lesson learned.

I liked Ayutthaya for the clean air and the rich history. I like Kanchanaburi for the coffee houses and the used book stores. Kanchanaburi also has it’s place in the history books, albeit a sad place. My hotel is along the River Kwai and the famous bridge is just down the road. I didn’t want to do anything touristy right away. I sat outside my room, read a book and just let the river flow on past. I thought that I could really be like Huck Finn, all I needed was a raft and an escaped slave. Or am I the escaped slave? No offense to my former employer, but I was really starting to feel the chafe of the golden handcuffs. However the corporation that I used to work for will be pleased to note that many of the cheap gifts they gave me are being used on my trip. I was out shopping in Bangkok when I noticed that my t-shirt, umbrella, and shopping bag all bore the company logo. How is that for advertising? I should still be drawing a paycheck.

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