A smile-inducing phenomenon in this part of the world are public aerobics classes where you get to watch a crowd of enthusiastically moving bodies trying to keep in time with bad music blaring far too loudly out of massive old speakers, led by a spandex-clad lady with a microphone around her head. The most enthusiastic participants are also the least coordinated and while these people are fun to watch, the most entertaining movers are the gay guys who add dramatic flair to their performance. I am sitting at the top of some stairs overlooking such a spectacle right now, having spent the former part of the day exploring Ayutthaya by bike.

The island city was once the most important settlement in all of South East Asia, being an eminent centre of trade between the east and west. I rode out to the floating market but left straight away when I saw it was just a crappy tourist trap complete with exploited elephants. I rode on to the Hass Holland but it was closed. Fortunately, the Japanese Garden was both open and held my attention. Their excellent video displays taught me about how accepting of race and religion old Ayutthaya was, a shining example for today’s sad state of affairs. I rode on through the Muslim part of the city on the southern side of Chao Phraya River. I was getting quite hungry by this point so I stopped at a little restaurant for a meal.

The restaurant is basically the front part of a house and as I was waiting for my food I could see through the front door and spy a man surrounded by tools doing some kind of manual work. I took the chance to fix my bike stand. Speaking with sign-language only, I explained to the main that a screw had snapped, leaving half of itself stuck inside the thread. Maybe you could get it out for me? If he could do this for me, I would then find a hardware where I could find a new bolt/screw system to attached to the stand and get it functional again. The man took my stand behind the scenes and all of a sudden the air was filled with the wounds of drilling, angle-grinding and welding. Worried about what butchery was going, I almost wandered into the house to see what he was doing, but I decided to have trust instead. After a while, out came the man with my stand. Not only had he removed the broken screw, but he had welded on a new bolt and given me a replacement screw, which is to say he fixed the entire thing! I tried to pay for his work, but the only thing he would accept was a spoken thank you.

Day 502 (pic)

Ancient capital

Accommodation $ Guesthouse
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 13,054km