January 28, 2018
We exited Bangkok on the freeway. The road narrowed pretty quickly but continued to make progress north. Our first stop was at the UNESCO site dedicated to the capital of Thailand for 4 centuries between the 14th and 18th centuries. The ruins of the capital, Ayutthaya provided us a chance to wander around the massive brick structures. The bricks were once covered in plaster that was frequently carved. Most of the plaster is gone as a result of the conquest by the Burmese. The conquerors burned the city and it was a abandoned by the Siamese who re-established themselves in Bangkok. What remains today are zillions of bricks.
The Thai government is restoring pathways and things to make it easier for tourists to navigate. It helps that the current bricklayers make a dollar an hour. Despite the low wages, the country is not impoverished. Food is cheap and we have seen no beggars. Free health care is universal. The families work together to support each other. Scooters and motorcycles are ubiquitous. There are plenty of cars but ancient junker relics are rare except for public buses and trucks. While some people live in shacks most of the houses are simple. There are even tiny homes offered for sale along the highways. I have to admit that I covet the homes handcrafted in teak. They are absolutely gorgeous.
Our next stop was at the Monkey Temple where the tourist can get up,close and personal with our simian cousins. One of them managed to abscond with one of my dollar store reading glasses. He is probably headed for the monkey school of higher learning. It was my gift. I will have to admit that I barely saw the temple as I needed to wrestle with the monkeys. My grandson Barrett would have had fun. Peggy kept her distance.
We enjoyed a lunch at beautiful outdoor pavilion designed for tourists. The landscaping and the food were equally excellent. It was nice to eat Thai food from a place where we didn’t worry about where the dishes were washed. We did make a roadside stop where we had the chance to buy a barbecued rat. We passed on the chance. Oh yes, the Thai people don’t eat dogs. Snakes aren’t so lucky.
We finally arrived at our evening stop in the city of Phitsanuloke. We were in time for a big Buddhist festival where, according to our guide, the most beautiful Buddha in Thailand. I am not a good judge of Buddhist art. But the celebration was interesting. There was plenty of incense and candles and bell ringing. Better were the culinary offerings. They was quite a selection of various bugs and slimy things. The rotisserie squad with necks and beak still attached were weird. We all passed at the chance. We didn’t see any rats for sale but we didn’t look too hard. We settled for KFC at the mall next to our hotel.
We watched Thai sports on TV. The best event was volleyball played with your feet. After the sporting events, the nightly report on the royal family started. The Thai people are serious about their king. Not much on the actual rulers, the military. Time for sleep.