We met up with Kenny’s family at the last stop on the BTS early. So early we got up at 6. I was sleeping the whole way there to try and conserve energy for the day as I found myself not having enough to get through all of the activities. We met up, exchanged hellos and Kenny caught up with his family during the long car trip to Ayutthaya.
A bit of a history lesson for the uninformed: Ayutthaya is the old capitol city of Thailand. It survived a very long and drawn out assault from the Burmese army, but was finally burned to the ground in 1765. The illustrious and famous Angkor Wat was captured and ruled by Ayutthaya. The Burmese did not stay long, however, as they were invaded at home by the Chinese. This is where we were going.
We drove by lots of rice fields on the way there. It was just like driving in Indiana, except replace rice for corn and lots of urban areas next to the farmland. Thailand has no sort of building codes, or zoning laws, so you’ll find interesting buildings all next to each other. Bangkok is no exception.
Once we arrived there, we got out and set to visit the floating market. First up, I needed to buy a hat. I came plenty prepared with sunscreen. I spent literally $60 dollars on SPF 100 sunscreen. I was not going to get burned. By contrast, I spent $1 on my hat.
Just taking a walk
Hat purchased, fully caffeinated
I’m on a boat
We floated around on this boat and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the market for a while, and then we went walking looking for food. Kenny actually ran into a friend on this trip, which was a major shock for everyone. We chatted with him for a bit, and then settled down to eat things.
The entrance to buy food!
Need food in here
Food purchased, water acquired
As we were eating, I saw some guys sparring with wooden swords and shouting. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was seeing. I thought nothing of it and continued to munch. After we ate, apparently it was time to watch a play! The reenactment of the Burmese invasion of Ayutthaya!
I did not understand the words, but I could gather what was going on through the costumes, demeanor of the actors, and then the action. The Burmese were acting pretty macho, and pushed people around. Then the Ayutthaya forces arrived and it was time for an epic battle. The fight lasted 20 minutes. This was not some rinky dink fight with wooden swords. They were using real weapons and you could see sparks fly off of the blades. I captured most of the fight on video, but it’s way too big to post (around 270 meg). Perhaps you could ask to see it privately!
After the fight, I took some photos with the cast and crew.
This was a really good show and opened up my eyes to some of the history and culture of Thailand. Thais have a lot of pride, I’d say even moreso than Americans, in their history. Even though I was with a large number of English speakers, I still felt like my American upbringing screwed me over on this trip. I attempted to learn some Thai before I came, but it all flew out of my head once I landed and my senses were overloaded.
Next post, I’ll detail leaving the market and the first site of ruins we covered.