A slow day in Ayuthaya

Has the old capital suddenly become a twilight zone?

We pulled into Ayuthaya Station and it was like the grave. Where was the welcoming committee? Where were the hordes of taxi drivers pulling at our shirt-sleeves with an enthusiastic chorus of ‘where you go? where you go?'

A day in Ayutthaya

Temple-spotting is a fine way to spend a Buddhist holiday

Apparently, Monday was (loosely translated) Buddha Day. It is therefore fitting that I should visit temples for the day, and thanks to an invitation from a lovely fellow teacher at school, that's exactly what I did! Ayutthaya is a mere hour and some change train ride from Bangkok.

Life on the ocean wave

Getting out and about on the mighty Bangkok rivers

As both a non-swimmer and someone who listens to far too many stories of people falling into polluted Bangkok waters, I've made avoiding boat travel one of my missions in life. Perhaps it was time to conquer the fears that had built up inside me for so long.

The end (sort of)

Reflections on a last decade

It has been a long and interesting decade. When I applied for my first passport I was still living in a car. I imagined that an overseas teaching job might get me off the streets. I ended up teaching homeless and illiterate Americans instead as an VISTA volunteer. This is how I acquired the taste for classrooms.

Skeletons splitting the sky

Alternative tours around Ayutthaya

I was given my present class on tour planning and management. It was a good opportunity to try something different. There are some decent day excursion that can be done from Ayutthaya, however hotels and travel agencies are reluctant to offer anything new. Therefore, I assigned my students several unique tours to see if they could be made affordable.

Unseen Thailand

Travels on Klong Takian

Why spend a Saturday afternoon learning to Kayak on a canal that few people have ever heard of before? Well, it is just sort of there. It was one of the few local canals that I hadn’t explored yet. Long-tail boats can’t navigate down its thin curves. They always break to a halt in frustration. Twice I tried to penetrate the canal to no avail. It felt like quitting in defeat before unhooking a precious bra strap.

Rebirth of the old city

How Ayutthaya survived

Historians really love dates. They need dates to give life value and context. The Ayutthaya period is often listed as 1350-1767. Some detail-oriented historians argue that the Ayutthaya period actually began in 1351, and perhaps this has led to a few fistfights around the campus coffee machine.

The teaching river

the waterways of Thailand and ayutthaya

Truth be told, I have taken as many as 150 boat rides in Ayutthaya. My love of this city’s waterways first struck me in the year 2000. I had just flew into Thailand for a new teaching job. Luck was with me. The first place that I looked at for housing was located right beside the Chao Phraya River. I rented the small stilted bungalow on the spot. There was no reason to look for anything else. After years of teaching abroad I had finally found what I was looking for.

Go to Hell

Leading my students into hell

In Hell you can see human bodies with the heads of chickens, cobras, and toads. You can peek at naked people scurrying up thorny trees while red-clad demons stab them with spears, hungry crows pluck out their eyeballs, and rabid "soi" dogs bite their genitals off. You could have a better day, if you know what I mean.

Ayutthaya island

Tales of ghosts and spirits in deepest Thailand

I have yet to see a ghost in Ayutthaya myself. But, I am learning to speak Thai, so maybe that will help. The main problem today is this: wailing ghosts don't attract western travelers, who are celebrating on vacation. Nobody likes whining and misery. We can always get that at home.

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