Saturday, July 28, 2007

Outshines the brightest stars

July 25, 2007
city of Ayutthaya

It's raining cats and dogs every day. (whenever I use the idiom, I always imagine the actual cats and dogs falling down from the sky. Perhaps, that'd explain why I've seen a lot of stray dogs and cats in BKK.) Good thing is the temperature has dropped to a comfortable level. I even feel chilled at nights. You may wonder how it could possibly happen to me who, back in Chicago, walked around in a tank-top and refused to have the heat on in my apartment during bitter sub-zero winters. I guess my tough skin's peeling off.

Not only the rain that's pouring down these days, but pedestrians also have to look up and watch out for alien objects that may fall from the sky. Remembered the news about scaffolding crashed down onto a car, killing three people, back in Chicago? It's happened here as well. But it's advertising billboards that came down on people. The disaster's caused by vigorous winds blowing over 30 MPH with heavy rainfall. According to law, the billboards're designed to withstand a maximum of 10 MPH wind capacity. (note: Bangkok is not a windy city, therefore 30 MPH brisk wind is pretty forceful.) Of course, the city said the incidents never occur before in its history. Now they have to revise the law. Nevertheless, with all the record-breaking disasters news happened around the world these days, if we connect the dots, we'd figure out what caused them. (need a hint?)

This week Mr. J came up to town from Koh Tao(Turtle Island) to pick up his girlfriend at the airport. He called Tim up to arrange our reunion.
(To refresh your memory, Mr. J is a friend of Tim from work and has been here for diving courses.) They planned to be in town for a few days. In stead of hanging around and repeating the same activities, I lured them into the out-of-town trip. Ayutthaya's only 86 km from BKK so a day trip is attainable.

The kingdom of Ayutthaya existed between 1350 and 1767 A.D. It's one of the most powerful cities in southeast Asia. In 1767 the city's destroyed by the Burmese army, and the ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya historic park, which's recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most sites are within reasonable traveling distance of each other. The best way to travel around the historic sites is to rent a bike, which comes with a free map. To get better picture of the area, imagine a land in rectangular shape surrounded by the river. If you keep riding a bike along the river, you'll easily return to a starting point without getting lost. The ride's pleasant as the city's green and we could see the ruins from distance along a roadway. Some of the highlights included The Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and Ancient Palace.

During the bike trip, we found a shortcut route to the other side of the city. We followed the trail through a park and through a narrow roadway built in a middle and along side of wild plants. And it's the ancient brick trail that caught my attention enough to cease my ride and take a closer look at it. It must have been built in Ayutthaya period, I thought. Then, walked further to discover a sign half-hidden behind a shurb that backed up my assumption. I looked at the trail and paused for a moment to pay respect to my ancients who, several hundred years back, had walked on the same road. It made me wonder what it's like to live in the most glorious period in the country's history. Were they grateful?

Ayutthaya has not only left us the evidence of once the most prosperous city, but also stories of our ancients who had given their lives in the war for the country and for the freedom their descendants'd have and be proud of. It's the freedom we've taken for granted.

The city'd left me something to think about that night.