Upon leaving Kanchanaburi we had to take a motorbike to a bus to another bus to a boat just to get back to Bangkok. Once our packs had been retrieved from storage at Old Town Hostel, we then had to take a train out to Ayutthaya. So much travel, so many forms of travel, all to go back for our gear. The upside of all the travel is it gives us time to figure out what to do next, that is if we research it then.
We reached our new city in the afternoon and yet again had to ferry across a river to get to town. Finding our hostel, we set out for dinner and quickly to bed. We wanted to make the most of the next day in the ruins. To our dismay, the other tenants had other plans for our sleep. Around 5 in the morning they came stumbling home drunk as a skunk. One of them couldn’t even stand. Their outburst was soon over and we were back asleep.
Morning came quickly. We set out by 8am to the ruins of Ayutthaya. We first stopped at Wat Mahathat, mostly known for the Buddha in the roots. We got to the site early enough that it wasn’t littered with all the tourists. The entire ruined temple had many structures, each in different states of ruin, spanning more than a city block.
Next we walked to Wat Phra Ram and then to Wat Phra Si Sanphet. These two were built at diffrent times and each had its own architectual style. We then finished off our morning by walking to Wat Ratchaburana on our way back. While there we ran into a lovely Dutch couple and walked the ruin with them.
At lunch we ate at our hostel and ran into our hostel mates from the night before. They quickly apologized and we got to talking. The 3 of them were here teaching English in the schools and quickly welcomed us into their group of friends, inviting us out to their band gig that night.
Before we could relax for the evening we had one more wat to see, well two actually; Wat Kudidao and Wat Maheyori, both of which were way out of town. Taking the ferry across the river, we started our three to four kilometer trek towards Wat Kudidao. I wanted to see this one becuase it was lesser known and visisted.
Sierra and I couldn’t have been more surprised by it. This nonfamous ruin was more complete than any we had seen inside the city. The description said it was being taken back by the jungle, that sparked my interest. By any strectch of the imagination, it was not. It would be best descriped as the grass is allowed to grow. The walls of the rectangular structures were still standing and many of the pillars were still intact as well.
Hurrying to the last Wat for the day we were surprised to see that they let us in right at closing. We quickly toured the temple before the sun set for the night. Heading back we were greated by a wonderful site, a tuk tuk driver offered to take us back for no cost. Fortune smiled on Sierra as the other guest of the tuk tuk were from Argentina, she was able to talk with them and in their own language. Back at the hostel and full from dinner, we headed to see Alex, the teacher, perform down the street.
The two of them were performing on a low stage in front of their friends and the other tourists. The dozen friends looking onward, sitting close together, cheering the two of them on. Sitting there, watching all of them, it reminded me of the basement band days of the 90’s when I was high school. Here they all are, in a foregin country, a long way from their homes, on Christmas. Doing the best that they can to have a semblence of what it’s like to be home for the holidays. Singing Christmas songs, laughing, playing pool, in a small bar on the edge of town, even if just for the evening, for just one moment, they were home.
Staying on the outside, looking in, Sierra and I enjoyed a beer and relaxed. The next group to come on was three older Thai men. Nothing remarkably special stood out, but we were in for a huge surprise. The leader started in on the guitar and in an instant we were in a blues bar in Mississippi. His fingers plucking the notes on the guitar as if he was plucking snowflakes from the air. We sat there for an hour or so listening to the blues, sung in English better than some Americans.
Calling it a night we went to bed and were up early for the train. The next day we had a bit of travelling to do so we got out early. Once again across the river on the ferry, we ran into our new Dutch friends and shared breakfast with them. Our train wasn’t due to leave for an hour so we got to know each other more. Extended travel can be lonely and it is imperative to make friends with the people you meet along the way, you never know when you’ll see them again.
(Above photo courtesy of our new Dutch friends, Arjanne & Jos)