Sunday, February 22, 2015

Asia Trip - Day 13 - Bangkok, Thailand

Sat 21
Explore Ayutthaya & Ancient Siam
After breakfast, we visit the ancient city of Ayutthaya, just outside of the city. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was home to 33 kings from many different dynasties. The capital of Siam from 1353 to 1767, the city was once a place of such fabulous wealth that early travelers described its "2,000 spires clad in gold." A coach ride brings us to Wat Yai Chai Mongkol (wat is Thai for temple), flanked by a row of saffron-draped Buddha statues. Although its stones were laid centuries ago in 1357, the site still functions as a meditation center today. We also explore the ruins at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, a temple complex situated within the former Royal Palace grounds which served as a model for Bangkok's Temple of the Emerald Buddha. After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll then board a motorized
long-tail boat—so named for its long, thin design—for an afternoon cruise, with a stop a Muslim village to learn about their lives. As we coast, we'll see villagers going about their daily routines at temples, schools, markets, and even churches and mosques near the river banks. We return to Bangkok by mid-afternoon.
We'll have dinner at a local restaurant this evening.

Wake-up call 6:30 am. Leaving the hotel in the bus at 8 am. You thought this was vacation? Just kidding. We are happy that our group leader Ole knows how to do it best. Traffic, weather, holidays, timing, etc, all can make a difference.
In the bus he shows us a hand drawn map and gives us a lecture about history. He is incredibly knowledgeable and knows how to tell it without it going over my head. He doesn't expect of us to retain everything. He is very enthusiastic.

First stop are these temple ruins in Ayutthaya. A king had built these in honor of his dead mother. Her ashes are in one of the stupas.

Ole discourages us from climbing up there. It is rather unstable looking.

William, Sonyeon didn't go up either. He was very happy just to look from here.

Ha-ha, William, can you find Papa and Sonyeon?

This is a jack fruit tree.

The fruit will get much larger.

Then the bus takes us to the former palace grounds. It is all amazing.
I don't think even the VIDEO can give you a good idea.

Yes, wherever we go since we arrived in SW Asia there are lots of dogs around and some cats too.

Temple dog?

A school class in the shade. The teacher tries to lecture using a bull horn. The students don't look like they are paying much attention when we walk by.

And there were other groups of school children, walking around. They are approaching American looking tourists because they want to practice English. They have a notebook with questions. So sweet. These in yellow shirts come 200 miles away.

Before we leave Ole is takes a group photo. Only Richard is missing. I think Ole will give it to everybody at the end but when I asked him he emailed it to me right there and then.

We walk to the bus through the local market. Lots to see.
This is some kind of candied fruit. Sorry, I forgot.

Well, wouldn't just everybody enjoy dried fish skin!

This is something really special. We saw it on a different stall first. Here is a VIDEO!
Ole bought some and let us try it. He said it was safe to eat for us just not to eat what we touched with our fingers since they might be contaminated.

Tiny shrimps in butter fried crisp. We saw those in Burma too.

Two kind of tamarinds. Peel and eat like peanuts but growing on a tree.

Lunch. Ole took us to a local restaurant. Soup first. Always delicious. James is in heaven. Curry. Quite spicy but I enjoyed it too.

Didn't know what those little balls were. They are baby eggplants. To be honest, I don't have to have them again. No special taste.

William, dessert! It is sticky rice in coconut juice with mango pieces. Sonyeon is pretty sure you would like it.

After lunch we went to the river for a boat ride. The boats were small so we needed two.

We saw some very poor houses none of us would like to live in.

Saw this Monitor lizard. Actually we saw a second one a bit later. Ole says they are not aggressive but shy.

Kids swimming. A woman washing her dog. People fishing.

And to be fair we saw some very nice houses too.

The other boat.

The temple ruins we saw in the morning.

Exactly opposite the Thai Queen's summerhouse. We could see from the water that it was a vast estate.

Just a little further a mosque.

And next door a Catholic Church Portuguese style.

Wow, commercial traffic.

Things always come to an end. Might as well. James and I we were both very uncomfortable.

We walk through the little village. Washing is hanging out. This is a clever way.

We walked to the mosque and the Imam welcomed us. There was also his assistant and a lady which is probably the equivalent to our altar guild lady.
First we all sat outside in a circle and we were encouraged to ask questions. Ole translated but James and I are almost sure he understands English. It was really very good.
Afterwards we were invited into the mosque and I think he liked when some of us took pictures with him. It was all very interesting. He answered us that it is NEVER ok to kill somebody and he was praying for peace. So, if we do the same ...

Back with the bus. Quite a drive in the traffic.
Later we meet and all walk not far to dinner.

Excellent. The walk home was good after that.
Night night. It's going to be early tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting seeing all the brick. I somehow was surprised to see it.

    I think that fruit is candied lotus root.