Asia | South East Asia | Thailand | Central Thailand | Ayutthaya – Day 60 – Ayutthaya, Thailand
I hopped the 90-minute milk-run up here to Ayuthaya from Bangkok. As one of my traveler friends once put it, ‘Thailand is Club Med for travelers’. Buses are air-conditioned, rarely run to capacity and certainly are never overflowing; they rarely (at least on the main urban routes) transport live beings other than the human variety, and generally make getting there much less than half the fun. So be it.
Ayuthaya is the one time capital of Siam and a kingdom which tentacled Burma and Angkor in Cambodia in its heyday. While modern-day Ayuthaya is no wilting lilly in the Thai race for urban madness, it is also at least a couple of notches below Bangkok. However, in the centre of Ayuthaya’s roar (which even now – well into the evening – is busting into my room through the open windows) is the elderly heart of Ayuthaya’s past glory. It is a manicured greenspace with scattered ruins, the latter courtesy of the Burmese who, in 1767, sacked and attempted to burn anything that represented Siamese power. Considering how much was built of brick and stone, the Burmese did a remarkably good job. Still, the remains are worthy of a gloriously silent rented bicycle and at least a full day of pedalling to their pedastals.
Angkor Wat in Cambodia and its spectacle of temple ruins has upped the ante for me with respect to getting excited by temple remnants ’round here. Still, the crumbling stupas of Ayuthaya sing a song of the past; one well worth hearing.
As the sun skidaddled for the day, I chanced upon a night market along one of the main arteries in town. All those fantastick quick
foods, a colourful assortment, sizzling, and steaming and frying before me. Plastic seating, fold-away tables, weak lighting from
overworked bulbs, scents and senses alive and changing with the wind. A street party where the stomach seems to be the guest of honour. Only the rain seemed to be an uninvited guest. The street cleared quickly. The vendors left to scrub their vats under large leaning umbrellas.