Posted from: Ayuthaya, Thailand
It only took 6 hours of travel time to reach Ayuthaya and settle in at my guesthouse, Baan Khun Phra, and the way up was more like a reality dating show than a solitary road trip. I dyed my hair several shades of blue the night before I left as a symbolic farewell ritual to Hua Hin, and while in the States that tends to send all sorts of alienating messages conducive to solitary travel, here it just seems to imply that you’re easy.
At the train station, Spacy Opium Guy with Helmet wandered up and started pointing to my tits and then gesturing to where his will seem to be when he sizzles away some more of his frontal lobes. One look at his vacant, vagely terror-stricken face and it was clear to me that his concern was for the alien life forms secreted in my bra, but it turned out he just wanted to cop a feel, so Zog and Blork made it safely back to the mothership without interference from the authorities.
Suitor number two, who attacked while the mesmerizing sway of the train, not to mention the generation(s) gap, had lulled me into a false sense of security, preferred the job interview approach. He immediately handed over his military service identification (20 years of patriotic dedication), and then his teacher’s ID card, his course syllabus, his university lapel pin, and then gave me a pre-cut wallet-sized picture of himself he’d printed out somewhere. He pasted it in my journal for me. Still, he was so fatherly that I thought he was recruiting me for his class until he started setting up telephone dates.
The tuk-tuk driver, straining his English vocabulary, busted out the “I luub you”s a whopping 3 minutes into the ride to Bangkok’s Mo Chit bus station, declarations which escalated in solemnity until finally he offered to drive me the rest of the way to Ayuthaya in return for sex to save me from having to pay for a bus.
The bus fare is 41 baht, which is equal to one American dollar. He was out of luck, though – I’m no longer impressed by such fantastic figures. Not, at least, since the guy in Kota Baru offered Noah seven goats for me. Eat your heart out, tuk tuk driver.
Ayuthaya’s made up for it so far, though. Baan Khun Phra is a place I’d imagine finding in India, with dark, carved wood everywhere and four charming single and double rooms opening into an intimate and comfy sitting room, one wall of which is made entirely of doors that open onto a balcony and a view of the river, afloat with tugboats and lined with gold-roofed temples.
The whole town of Ayuthaya is surrounded by rivers and the joining and splittings of rivers, making it a sort of island. I would imagine that was a large part of the reason – that it lends itself so wel to military defense – that Ayuthaya was chose as the ancient Thai capital. Most of the ruins here were built in the 14th century by one king or another and they still stand, miraculously, smattered around between the tailors’ and the motorbike stands. I don’t believe there’s anything like standing on a spot that has 7 centuries of documented, tangible history with no padded ropes between your palms and the sun-hot bricks.
Times like that, I purr like a smug little Cheshire and think, “All over the world right now, people are filing.”