Day 2, Part 1 - 8th September - Ayutthaya
This day I went to Ayutthaya, an old Thai capital. Walking to the station, I got to breathe in, as with the previous night, the heady, exhilarating scent of Southeast Asia: rubbish, excrement and rotting food.
A lot of young ang mohs doing an ad for SMU. Occidentalism!
ISO 9001 certification
Seating for monks
I didn't get this "train body wrap" thing. It seems to be an advertising medium.
Seeing a lot of young ang mohs, knew I had gotten the right train. I got to sit near 4 German-speaking backpackers... till I found out I was in second class when I had bought a third class ticket (20 Baht only! - a tour would've been 2,250 Baht), and got unceremoniously booted out. Before that one of the German guys said when Thais saw Europeans they thought they were rich and ripped them off. In reply to my query about why westerners like Thailand, he said for Germans it's exotic because in Germany everyone knows what to do but it's not that way in Thailand. This was a strange type of exoticism.
Hawker in train. The food wasn't fresh. However I was impressed by styrofoam trays (with shrink wrap) containing minced mystery meat with basil and a fried egg on rice.
The "rapid" train took 95 mins to go 70-80 km.
Third class had padded benches with 90 degree (straight) backs. Second class had individual seats which could recline at a slight angle, making sleeping slightly easier than in third class.
Road sign: "Japanese village". Seems it wasn't a scam.
At one point they had some pillars set up for a construction project. Two dots and a curve made it look like a frown:
-------- | 0 0 | | - | | / \ | | | --------
When I hit Ayutthaya, a guy offered me 300 Baht for 1 hr of transport. The 2009 Rough Guide said I should have paid 200 Baht. Giving allowances for inflation I offered 250 and he accepted. I was originally intending to walk to some of the sites which were nearer to each other, but the fee seemed reasonable to me.
The first stop was Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol, with a Sleeping Buddha:
Kids saving 20 Baht in admission fees
Posing with Buddha. This was supposed to be disrespectful, but these people seemed to be Thai, and even did a thumbs-up sign. Ah well.
Plastering gold foil on Buddha. As you can see he's a Working Buddha, and is not a museum piece.
English signage was almost non-existent, and signs didn't say BC or AD.
High tech: "Chill in Ayutthaya"
On Wat Yai Chaimongkhon (variant spelling)
Phra Chedi Chaimongkhon
I bumped into the 4 Germans. They paid 200 Baht per person for 3 hours, and there were 4 of them. So it was about the same. So I got quite a good deal, because I wasn't white.
Serenity and Idiocy
Without dumb girl posing
The King, The Tourist
This scene of Buddhas kneeling to each other was called elsewhere "Wihan"
6 of the Thirty-Eight Blessings
Holy pigs (?)
Toilet donations: you will notice there's somewhat on the girls' side than the boys'. Are they more generous or do they use the toilet more?
I like the man in shorts with his hands on his hips. Maybe this is a farang unhappy at being swindled.
Ayutthaya Football Club has an amusing logo of what is presumably an ancient Thai warrior.
Sign: "Koh rean restaurant". I think it was a misspelling.
Next was Wat Phanan Choeng. Admission was 20 Baht for foreigners. Presumably it was free for locals, but it was a modest amount so I was okay with it.
Who said money doesn't grow on trees?
Big Buddha statue
Worshippers, with monk bestowing blessings
Lots of monks' robes. Notice the guy making music.
Ji Gong (?)
At first I thought these were charms for your dog. But it seems the Thai zodiac is the same as the Chinese one.
Incongruous tentage advertising Baby Angel Beauty & Spa
Dog... with a diseased member
There was an "ASEAN study centre" with ASEAN flags on its outer wall. Hah.
"Landscape renovation Ayutthaya Province. Accomplished Ayutthaya World Heritage site to be the host city-Ayutthaya World Expo 2020"
They haven't actually been awarded the 2020 World Expo
I saw a white couple cycling. The guy was ahead and never looked back to the girl. The girl didn't whine, shout or complain. Ahh, gender equality!
There was what was presumably a school with a sign "Child Show 2011". Then there were photos of schoolgirls in uniform. Uhh.
"Clean Ayutthaya", Dirty Sign
Maybe this was in the imperative mood
Stiff the foreigners! Notice that the price for locals is not in Arabic numerals. I think it was 10 Baht for locals - 20% of the foreigner price. Bah.
You don't have this bullshit in the developed world, but then again you also have few people swindling you.
There was a place selling Coke. A can was 20 Baht and a bottle 30 Baht. But a bottle was 450ml so it was more expensive than the can, ml for ml. Gah.
On Wat Maha That
Sandstone Buddha Head
Dear Japanese, "please... do not stand over the Buddha head (it's insulting!)"
Finally a clear shot.
Perambulating in ruins
Woman with jerry can in one hand and handbag in the other
Buddha head again
Buddha head closeup
Squirrel and coconut
Next was Wat Ratchaburana
Grand Hall, Wall
View from above
One could climb up to enter this structure.
Stuff they found inside
French-speaking guys going down stairs. I went down 1 level and there was nothing. 1 guy went even further down and said there were "inscriptions", "une grotte", "murales" and "peintures". I figured that it was not worth it, and asked him. He didn't think it was worth it either.
Elephants. As with mechanical ones, they were probably more fun to see than ride on. Especially alone.
Phra Mongkol Bopitr
Thai torture device - they haul you to the middle of the pond and put you on one of thes
Dog donation box
On Phra Mongkhon Bophit
Place before the restoration, when there was no roof
Restored Buddha, non-restored building
Back side of Buddha
I don't know what this was
On the Buddha of Phra Mongkhon BoPhit
Foreign visitor - German Duke and Duchess, with a Thai Prince. I find it hard to believe German nobility came to "worship"
After a fire
I find shacks with satellite dishes amusing. The opium of the masses is important even if you're poor.