Yesterday there was a Children's Day celebration party for 1,600 kids from the orphanage of Wat Sakeaw which is in Angthong just north of Ayutthaya. It is held every year and is organised with help from most of the women's groups here in Bangkok. (The BWG donated 20,000 baht from the welfare fund so that every kid could have a present to open on the day). There is food, ice-cream, a magic show, a clown, sports, face and nail painting, hat making to name but a few of the activities that are provided. With my new BWG Welfare Volunteer Co-ordinator role (Impressive title eh!!) I managed to get nine people to volunteer to help out.
So, yesterday morning at the ungodly hour of 6am Chris, Moon and I dragged our weary carcasses out of bed and down to Phrom Phong BTS Station where we met up with Sue Tedd (You might remember her - She's the lovely lady who helped us find our apartment) who was giving us a lift. What a laugh.....just getting there was a little adventure. (I can tell that you are sensing a rant coming.......and your spot on!!). Thai road signs!! Thai road signs......they might as well not have any at all for all the sense that they make (and that's when they are written in English!!). We had a map - it looked very straight forward.....go to the old airport (yep we know where that is) then follow road 32 heading for Bang Pahan straight up past Ayutthaya then turn right onto road 347/329 (Ok not sure why there are two road numbers there but if we just go straight I'm sure we won't miss it.....Ha) then turn left and the Wat will be on your right (Brilliant - that looks easy!!). Oh my God.....it's a miracle we made it there at all!! We got to the airport ok, got onto road 32 fine, followed road straight on then noticed a sign on the road next to us saying Ayutthaya!! (We were up and down that stretch of road twice because it wasn't clear which junction you had to get off at to get on that road!!). We got to Ayutthaya and couldn't find the Wat for love nor money so ended up paying a motorcycle taxi to drive there and we followed behind him (Actually - Sue completely forgot we were supposed to be following him, got fed up because he was going so slowly and as she was overtaking him Chris said 'Erm, Sue. Aren't we supposed to be following him?'). We would never have found it on our own!! We got there in the end....it had only taken 3 hours!! (We bumped into Claire and Rodger who proudly announced that it had only taken them an hour and 15 minutes - harrumph!!).
The party itself was brilliant fun. Sue and I were put on make up duty and were instantly surrounded by 100's of excited little girls - they got to choose what colour of eye make up they wanted, what colour of blusher, which lipstick and then we had glitter which we put on them as well. It was absolutely hilarious - we got frowned at if there was not enough glitter!! Moon was crowd control......after the girls got their make up done they had their hair and nails done and then they got dressed up to have their photo taken. Moon was stopping them all diving head first into the dressing up box (Which was quite an achievement let me tell you!!). Chris, who had originally been assigned face painting duties, ended up playing football with the boys. I looked up and there he was - a good head and shoulders above everyone else running around in the sun. He very quickly gave up trying to play properly and resorted to cheating - this involved picking up the boy that was in front of him and moving him out the way so that he could kick the ball!! It was really good fun and I was astonished at how well behaved the kids were - lunch was held in a huge room (actually I want to call it a hanger) with no tables or chairs or anything. The kids got metal trays out their bags (You know the kind that you see in American movies for school dinners) got their food and then they sat in rows and ate their dinner - it was really quite amazing.
So, having had the sign disaster (and a map that didn't actually tell you where the Wat was) we decided that we would ask Claire and Rodger how to get back. It sounded so simple (What we should have done was wait for them to leave and follow them - but that would have been too easy!!) and it's not going to be any surprise to any of you that two hours later we were relying on Moon to find out if we were even heading in the right direction!! We were driving along this road (The signs to Bangkok which we had been following had helpfully disappeared) when we spotted some skyscrapers in the distance (Thank God for that) ahh little did we know!! Four maps and lots of discussion later we worked out that we had actually driven round the city, were now on the south side and that we would have to cross a bridge to actually get back into Bangkok. So we saw signs for Rama Nine bridge....followed them.....only to discover.....that the bloody bridge has not been built yet!!! (I should have known!!). We finally found one and as we were crossing I said 'I really think that the clouds should part, a ray of sunshine should shine upon us and there should definately been a host of angelic voices going ahhhhhhh' - Moons comment was 'Oh. Signs Thailand no good!!' (I think that about sums it up!!)