Day 5 - Ayutthaya - ๐ŸŒ MWT 2017

Friday September 1st, 2017
Hiked 5.7 miles

5:23 am

Any picture you take here is magical. 
So I fell asleep very early last night. I woke up about an hour ago, took a shower, and came down to the lobby to see what Bangkok looks like in the wee hours of the morning. I walked outside to see almost everything was locked up tight.  There were very few commuters going to work.  They seemed to have the entire road to themselves. Sporadically shops are starting to open.  I saw one woman walking down the street with bags of produce.  I came back to see some trendy American music videos on the large ceiling mounted TV, it was familiarly comforting.

The receptionist has just told me that I am welcome to eat my breakfast early since it is already laid out.

I am sitting in front of a tourist safe, nutritious, and quality fresh breakfast.



Thailand is a very fertile farm country, mostly rice and it feeds most of Asia with this export. Waste is often recycled without much refinement as fertilizer so anything you can not peel, wash, or boil should be avoided by tourist.  I learned that you can not avoid that completely because of garnishes.  I got some green onions on my dinner last night and made an exception for the risk and they were amazing. I am also not sick, yet.

This is the street view of my hostel last year.  It might just be brand new because I don't see it.

Somewhere in that area north of Bangkok,
are the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya.
I do lean toward the paranoid side when I travel to avoid getting sick.  It can impede your trekking distance and prolong the time it takes to fly exponentially.  So I am relieved to see hard boiled eggs with the little stamps that assure us that these are the best quality eggs. I see toast, coffee, and orange juice too.

8:00 pm

Well, the orange juice this morning happened to be Tang, maybe made with tap water. Again, you can only be cautious, not bulletproof.

I am back at the hostel now.  I just put my laundry in the washing machine so I have about 30 minutes to make some notes. 

As I was eating my breakfast this morning Josh came down and joined me.  He sat down and ate his breakfast as well.  I ask him if he went back out last night.  He had he had, and Khao San Road looked like a giant party.  Everyone was selling buckets of drinks to mix together for only a few dollars.  He said a local sat him down next to a cute girl his age and introduced them. She was from China and was a student nearby. They enjoyed a pleasant conversation and then parted ways.  

I am not sure what all these are for,
some say teaching, others are temples.
Everything from office sized to temple size.
The driver was right on time at 7am.  He just appeared out of nowhere and was standing behind Josh ready to escort us out to his van.  We made several stops and picked up tourist from all over the world.  

The van was almost completely full.  There was just one empty seat. No one really said anything as we drove 45 minutes to Ayutthaya. About half the bus was looking out the windows and the other half were sleeping.  We made several stops at old ruins, got an enthusiastic, but slightly difficult to understand, and also intermittently informative guide, tell us about the history of each stop.  We stopped by 4 monuments before lunch.  Each one was magnificently tall.  There was also a very long reclining buddha.  

I did not take many pictures.  At the monuments there was a large billboard explaining exactly when and how to take a picture with Buddha in it.  It confused me, because I could not tell if you were supposed to take a picture in front or behind Buddha.  Clearly one of them was disrespectful.  It was posted that it was a crime to get a tattoo of Buddha. One cartoon like sign said you should not stand on his head.  That made perfect sense.  I saw another saying you should not recline in front of buddha.  

Built to last hundreds of years and it was burned by the Burmese.
We all understood that one.  We were all standing in front of the reclining buddha when a very excited and bouncy blonde tourist reclined in the foreground of buddha for a photo.  Several tourist closest to her quickly and gently reminded her that was not allowed. 

Yesterday I ask John about pictures. He said it was ok for a tourist to take pictures of Buddha.  Basically he said do not worry about it if you do not understand.  

I didn't want to stick out as someone that was intentionally trying to be disrespectful. The pictures I took when I noticed others taking similar shots. My goal was to be slightly more respectful than the common tourist. If it is taken wrong, I am only slightly an asshole. 

There are many laying buddhas.
For lunch we were escorted to a restaurant that was cleared out for our group.  It was a nice porch area with a Tin roof.  There was water pouring off the roof, yet it was was not raining.  Perhaps it was from the river, or municipal I can not tell.  We had a great view of the river.  

The whole group began talking.  We were offered a variety of drinks to purchase with our meal.  Each course was laid out about every four places along the table.  Between all our tour vans we probably had about 60 people on the tour. Very interesting conversations were happening all around me.  I was very pleased with the taste of the buffet style Thai food.  I wish I could remember what it was called.  It seemed like it would be a curry noodle stir fry with vegetables, and a chicken stir fry with vegetables and sauce.  There was rice, and what appeared to be crispy egg omelette.  I had some and it was pretty good.  It could have been bread too.  I think it would have made a great wrap. The guy opposite of me was not convinced it was egg, and others were slightly surprised he did not think it was. A few girls seemed to be very interested in Josh and invited him to their home country.  Others were just like me, silently eating and taking in the view.  

There is a head in the roots. I did not understand
the entire story about it. 
We got back into the van and visited more sites.  It was hot. When we were told we were back in Bangkok I was not the only one that thought we might have had another site to go and missed it.  It was about 3pm when we were dropped off a half mile away from our hostel.  The whole van was emptied and all my fellow tour group members all started to look at their maps, look for street signs, or take out their phones to find out where they were. No one protested very loudly.  There was no need in fighting it, everyone seemed exhausted from the many miles we walked in the sun among the ancient, and very very large, city ruins of Ayutttaya.  I was about to take out my phone, but Josh instantly recognized that we were right near Khao San Road and that was right by our hostel.  We both started going back toward the hostel automatically.


Ayuthaya was not at all what I expected.  It was divided up into several protected ruin sites among a sprawling urban environment.  Our bus would stop at one, we walked around for about 30 minutes then were bussed to another.  They covered our lunch and did a lot of driving.  At each site our English speaking tour guide would meet us and give us an enthusiastic history of the place.  He was slightly difficult to understand, but was eager to clarify it with you in private.  

They were working on keeping this one painted
a very bright white. Notice the staircase does
not come all the way to the ground.
We got back to the hostel. I read some more information about Thailand online.  It appears that all drugs are pretty much illegal, and the cost can be quite enormous for trying them on their soil.  I learned that a law called lese majeste that has been in effect since 1908 makes any critic of the king punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison.  There are no strict guidelines as to what this crime can be defined as.  I also read that if a police officer thinks you may be on drugs he can request you take a urine test.  If you come up positive you pay a fine and or do time. If you refuse, you pay a fine and or do time. If you legally smoke a joint in California, fly to Thailand, and act like your high. You can go to jail for being under the influence if it is in your system.  This is not the place to go if you want to get loaded and stumble down the beach.  It is not a place you want to get caught possessing drugs.  You will get offered them, so make your choice wisely. 
A walk around that large white temple.

For your information, if you do take some drugs, start tripping balls, get paranoid, believe your going to die and call the emergency line.  A trip to the medical center will guarantee that you do not get charged for being high.  

About 5:30 pm I started to get hungry.  Josh was hungry too.  I was also tired again. The heat and humidity is intense and takes some getting adjusted to. 

The best food I ever had in Bangkok,
 right on Khao San Road.
Josh and I started out toward Khao San Road.  I read it was ranked twice by a Forbes magazine as the best street food in the world. We walked to one of the first street vendors who what popular among the locals.  I did not like that she was keeping her chicken in warm Tupperware that appeared to have ben in the sun all day.  We walked up Khao San Road and saw coconut ice cream, scorpions on a stick, chicken on a skewer, and flamed noodle stir fry.  We got all the way down to the end of Khao San Road and neither of us found what we imagined.  To the west side of the road was a restaurant. It looked busy with locals and tourist.  Very clean, and although you could not see the kitchen completely it was open enough it felt they were not trying to hide anything. 

We sat at a table and were 5 minutes too late for happy hour.  You can drink at 19 there, but you better not act like a fool. I don't remember what Josh ordered, but it had whiskey.  I had a local beer. A Singha, with the ferocious dragon-cat on the label. I wanted comfortable so I ordered the cashew chicken stir fry, and their chicken on a stick with peanut sauce. Josh ordered the same cashew chicken.  

It was the best cashew chicken I ever ate in my entire life!  I felt like I could move to that little apartment for rent overlooking this patio and live happily eating off this places menu. It was so good I want someone to make a taste thermometer cause this dish was so amazing. It was fairly priced.  I had very good service and several beers completely when I wanted them. Josh remarked how good this food was.  I do not know who the chef is there, but they have honestly had the best Thai food I ever enjoyed. 
The best Thai food I ever had. 

9:30 PM

So I am very satisfied in this very nice 2nd floor loft overlooking the lobby.  There is an outlet so I can use my phone.  I met a nice and pretty blonde tourist from Holland that told me an interesting story about going to Myanmar (previously known as Burma).   I ask her why she was wearing a cast.  She told me she popped something on a hike in the deep country of Myanmar. She found a medical clinic and went to get it checked out when the pain was constant and severe. 
A cool bird I found. 

She said the Dr came out, put some antiseptic on her abrasion, placed a bandage over it, then wrote how much her bill was on a slip of paper.  She said she tried to explain that she felt more should be done. The doctor just looked at her with a blank look for a long time, then handed her the whole bottle of antiseptic.  She paid her bill, left the country, came to Thailand, and found a pretty good cast in Bangkok from what I can tell. 

These monuments were engraved with careful,
detail, and time. 



A very old archway still intact. 
This city was huge and hundreds of square miles.