Report from the First Thai Kingdom

January 29, 2018

We left the Buddhist festival behind and reached the foundry for brass Buddhas. Even if we had wanted one, they would make us way over weight. We even skipped the little ones. Despite our lack of interest in owning such a sculpture, it was interesting to see the foundry and their approach to lost wax techniques. Since few folks, even amongst Buddhists want a thousand pound brass Buddha in their house, the casting company relies on groups who buy one for their favorite temple. It is kind of like buying pews or Bibles, except heavier. I was briefly tempted to buy a little bell but was reminded by my wife that we have a ship’s bell at home. Oh well.

We next headed to another UNESCO site. The first Thai or Siamese capital was in Sukhothai. It was a city of one million in the 14th Century. This was the same time as the Black Death in Europe and London had maybe 50,000 inhabitants. Today the ruins that were abandoned in the early 15th Century are maintained as a historic park. Again there are zillions of bricks that remain largely intact despite being exposed to tropical conditions for centuries. There were plenty of Buddhas to go around. Sukhothai was taken over by its southern Thai neighbor Ayutthaya that we visited yesterday. Modern Sukhothai is sizable city south of the ruins. We stuck with the old stuff.

I had the opportunity to free some wildlife from captivity. It wasn’t exactly the same as freeing Willy but the frog, eel and fishes I returned to the pond were happy. I supposedly will have good luck. The little creatures will probably be caught again tonight. The ransom price on the sizable turtle was too much. He probably is in someone’s soup pot tonight. Peggy did find a nice outfit to bring home.

We enjoyed a nice lunch before continuing on to the remnants of a 14th Century ceramics kiln. The Thai King at the time promoted the development of this export product. Our last local product was a fabric and clothing factory that supplies the royal family. Peggy now can say she buys her hats with royalty.

We are now driving in the mountains through teak forests. Tonight we are staying in a hotel made of teak. I can’t wait.

Arrived at the teak hotel. Unique. Actually modern in a big city. Too pooped for nightlife. We will probably just eat in the hotel garden.

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