Asian Wonders # 6: The Ayutthaya Adventure

"The corn is as high as an elephant's eye."

Today I had a special privilege and it was to venture out into the Ayutthaya province in Thailand. It has been in existence since 1350 when King U thong went there to escape a smallpox outbreak.  It grew and in the 1600’s it was one of the largest cities at that time. Ayutthaya was called Siam, but the people of Ayutthaya called themselves Thai. Before we went to the historical sites, and the draw for many were the elephant rides. Elephants are not smooth because of their bulk each step pulls along a gigantic body, which jostles the rider with every movement.  I was decidedly pleased to be pried off the elephants back, but I do hope the crabby old dude remembers me for the next ride.

Diane and Sheila riding the crabby elephant.

When you are in Thailand you defer to Buddha, I certainly enjoy the beautiful presence of each one we encountered.

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During the long ride there and back I noticed many things along the way. The country loves the king and queen. The king was born on a Monday, so as you can see the yellow flag is flow along with the Thai flag. I will explain flag colors below.  You can see many squares of special tributes to their king. See one here;

The countryside is full of rice paddies and when we stopped for lunch, rice was included. It had a distinctly fresh grown taste, notably different from the rice we get far from here.

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The older generations did not go by the calendar so they would be able to tell the day of the week by the color of the flag flown. Monday, yellow, Tuesday is pink, Wednesday is green, Thursday is orange, Friday is blue and Saturday is purple. I cannot remember Sunday. Those of you on your computers look it up for me, and let me know.  If I turn on the Wi-Fi connection it will cost me $20.00. Shipboard Wi-Fi is very costly. I know they donated a nice amount of precious minutes, but slow processing has eaten those up. Plus when there are people using it, it is even slower.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much each blog cost, so I will not, but I have made up my mind to do it no matter the cost.

Thai people are taught to keep their feelings inside and always keep smiling.  It is not that they don’t have negative and strong feelings, they are taught to leave them inside to present a happy face.  The older generation is tuned into this, but the younger generation is different. Still in all age groups there is a strong work ethic, a smile, a nod or a hello.

Ayutthaya Historical Park.  When you enter these grounds, the stillness of this historical park envelops you, and many things come to mind. Each mind is a personal venue not privy to anyone else, but you can nearly feel the thoughts of others in the present.  No thoughts and feelings of those that came before, by the way.  I knew from all that I was seeing that I had been here before.  Now, don’t stop reading, I know I get off on spiritual, ecumenical tangents, but this is the truth. Many years ago we had a wonderful tour by Gate I and they covered the territory from south to north in lovely Thailand.  So when, I say I have been to the Ayutthaya Historical Park before, I am not in any ethereal state.  So I have been there before, but what is not to love and remember?Here are some photos of my return visit, just as beautiful and powerful as the first time.

Visit to Bang Pa-In Summer Palace

In the photos you will see only a tiny fragment of the beauty of this lovely Palace. In fact, it is so expansive we were assigned four to a golf cart and given directions to ride around for a while stopping here and there. This once was beautiful and powerful and served the Kings of the past, now it is as beautiful and powerful tourist attraction.

You have heard the saying, “Up to your neck in hot water,” referring to being in trouble. If I remember it correctly that is what it means. Thailand had terrible floods about three weeks before we came. The floods have reseeded leaving distinct waterlines marking its presence. I learned to read the waterlines on the buildings from the bus as we travel through many cities and especially the villages. Most watermarks looked like the water came up to exactly up to my neck. My goodness! Now one realizes why so many houses in gullies and lower lying ground are on stilts.

P.S. If you are in need of facilities in Thailand, you do not say, where is the bathroom or the rest room, or wash room or ladies room, even pishatorium will not get you there. You will get questioning eyes.  The minute you say where is the “Happy House” you get nods and directions pointed with hands right, left, left, right and there, “Happy House.”

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