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Sawasdee, Thailand!

The day of our departure to Thailand was remarkably stressless, I even found the time for lunch and coffee with one of my dearest friends. We had plenty of time catching the flight to Vienna, and if it wasn't for the filthy Danish sex tourist who kept burping, snorting, and generally being a bother next to me on the flight from Vienna to Bangkok, I would have said the trip was perfect.

We got in to the city in the afternoon, found a fair hotel next to Sukhumvit Road and headed off to run errands, cashing traveller cheques, drinking juices, and walking around. Just ready for sunset, we got up to the 59th floor of the amazing Banyan Tree Hotel, and two further flights of stairs led us to the roof-top bar. That evening, we went through Patphong and Soi Cowboy, the two centres of the infamous Thai ladyboys, and after a beer or two, we headed for the hotel and drifted away almost immediately.

Our plans to head for Lumphini Park in the morning to participate in the Tai Chi sessions were foiled by oversleeping, but we can do Tai Chi on other days. Rested, we headed for the train station to send off the bag with clothing via train cargo to Chiang Mai, where it will (hopefully) be waiting when we arrive in two weeks' time. This message reaches you from Chinatown, we're catching something to eat before going 3rd class to Ayuthaya. Tourists usually take a taxi for 1000 Baht (about 20 EUR), we pay 15 Baht each and will be in touch with the locals.

This being my first post on my trip towards Myanmar, so there's nothing much to write. One thing I found noteworthy is the change in the way taxis work these days. Two years ago, I learnt to insist on taxis starting their meters rather than quoting a price up front. Last year, my cousin and I made first experiences with taxi drivers refusing to go with the meter. This years it's nearly impossible; apparently too many tourists didn't think enough and now the drivers are unwilling to give up the profit from ripping them off. Example: Sukhumvit to Hua Lamphong station was 69 Baht in a taxi (our hotel told the driver to behave), and I sure we would have been quoted 200 Baht with a possibility to bargain the driver down to 140 or so.

Anyway, that's it form today. I'll write again from Ayuthaya or Khorat.