After a few days in Pattaya I'm back in Ayutthaya
...the temples and ruins here are spectacular. I'll be off to Bangkok soon, I'm not sure if I will be heading to Taiwan on the 15th or not. There is a lot more to see here.
I had an interesting experience on the ride over here from Pattaya. The driver tried to pull the "you pay for road tolls and gas" scam after I paid an all inclusive fee for the trip. Golf handed the guy 120 baht for the "toll" before I knew what he was trying to tell her. Since it was just under $3 I figured I would let it slide. As we arrived at my hotel he demanded gas money, and I had had enough. I made it clear that I was not paying for anything and he was going to return the money we gave him immediately. After he gave the money back I decided to give him a 100 baht tip regardless of his apparent dishonesty, since the luggage was a nightmare. Though, apparently I had left my camera bag in his minivan. That evening I returned to the hotel to find that the driver had returned to give me my camera and equipment. He could have pawned it for quite a bit of money or sold it to one of the many flea market vendors that sell boot-legged and/or stolen goods. (Electronic equipment is often more expensive here than in the US it seems). What strikes me is that he tried to steal a few dollars but when he had the opportunity to steals hundreds of dollars he didn't do it. Perhaps he had a change of heart because I tipped him in spite of my being aware of his attempt to swindle me, or perhaps he had kept the camera bag intentionally changed his mind because he feared I would realize it and find him. (It was clear that I wasn't going to let the 120 baht slide, so he would know that I would try to find him if I figured it out). I'd like to think he had changed his mind about stealing the camera out of kindness rather than fear, but I'll never know.
Ayutthaya is a pretty nice spot. It is close to Bangkok and the airport but far less crowded than Bangkok and cheaper as well. Not many foreigners (farang) here either. The $70 (3,000 baht) per month house I rent has two bedrooms, a family room, a thai kitchen a great gated courtyard and bathroom with a "western" toilet. Not bad at all, looks nice too.
I'm going to go do some more exploring around here today...