Old Sukhothai – Ancient Capitals and a Kid Called Chocolate

Cool tree at the Old Sukhothai ruins.

Cool tree at the Old Sukhothai ruins.

This mornings breakfast report – yummy green curry that wasn’t quite as deadly as the last one, rice porridge, lil’ baby sausages, and somehow those fried pastry things with condensed milk on managed to get onto our plates again as well. Perusing the newspaper, the headlines read; ‘Muslims flee Western Myanmar  – 25 killed, 40 injured’, ‘Police exam declared invalid after cheating’ and ‘Flood sends villages fleeing – Sukhothai hit as Yom River gives way’ – precisely the place we were heading to. Righto, possibly a canoe will be required. We hadn’t heard of any transportation cancellations or anything, so off we set.

 Back onto the Skytrain – we’re old hands at this now. We must have hit rush hour or something, because the scene inside our carriage was akin to that of a National Geographic documentary about shoals of herrings. Thankfully most of the herrings swam off at Chit Lom, several stations before we got off, so we were once again able to indulge in the luxury of inhaling of oxygen. At our station, a woman with a face mask on had to come out and unlock the ‘disabled lift’ for us so that we could get our heavy luggage back down to ground level. From there, into a taxi, Ursula having first struggled to get the driver to understand that we needed to get to the Mo Chit 2 station to catch our bus. I reached for the seat belt, as we Kiwis naturally do, but they were non-existent in the back seat. It was an interesting ride – we went past a sizeable, pretty truck with a large dragon painted right across the windscreen, the usual several family members on motorbikes and various other traffic curiosities. There’s always so much to look at in Asia. At the bus station, a nun went past – very petite with a shaven head, looking for all the world like a guy if you didn’t know better, and a guy went past on impressively high heels with long, gorgeous hair, looking for all the world like a beautiful woman. You can spot the guys by the amount of preening they do ongoingly…

A tiny kid went past with those damned squeaky shoes on that used to drive me nuts in India. It’s a great concept as far as not losing your littlies goes, but it drives me nuts within seconds. Aaarggghhhhh!!!

I love the bottled water brand names here – Chang, U-OK, Purex…

I went to the bank to exchange some currency and I got told to push a button, take a ticket then sit down, watch Thai t.v. and wait for my number to come up. You end up with a wad of notes that makes you feel a lot richer than you actually are.

The bus station yard was a fair bit cleaner than Indian ones – only 42 pieces of rubbish per square foot compared to 117. We watched a guy using his slingshot to get the pigeons out from under the roof. Pretty, guano-dispersing skyrats…

The bus was pretty posh. For 340 baht (around $15) we got to ride for 6 hours in the antarctic interior of it, while enjoying our plastic-looking bun and wee cup of water, and stopping for a rudely served, quickly-eaten lunch. I have to be more careful with what I point to in such cases – I ended up with a mouthful of liver. Gurgh!!

Nice scenery outside the windows – beautifully curved Thai roofs, exquisite temples, which the driver beeped the horn at each time we passed one, huge rice paddies, lots of trees, some rather cool-looking hill formations and at one stage a giant Buddha statue partway up a hill.

We got to Sukhothai just on dark, then got a lift with a guy on a very strange-looking rickshaw setup. It had a stretched out motorbike part out what we took as being the front, with a tray for passengers on the back. We boarded it, then the guy went and fetched his 2 little kids, got them seated then sat on the motorbike part facing us. Turns out that we were actually seated in the front part and went ahead of the driver. What a crazy feeling! Pretty cool though, riding along at about 20kms, looking windswept and interesting…

The little girl’s nickname was Chocolate, and she loved having her photo taken. She started to fall asleep after a while and was in danger of slipping through the bars and onto the road. She didn’t want to sit on our knees so I put my scarf around her and hung onto the ends. She seemed to think that was okay. meanwhile, the little fella was almost falling asleep on the motorbike part behind his dad, who eventually stopped and made him sit up front with us, which of course involved possible contamination with girl germs. However, when we got to Old Sukhothai, we gave them a kids storybook each and their little faces lit up with huge grins. Dad was pretty rapt too.

So, we’re at the ancient capital of Thailand, in a guesthouse run by 3 lovely sisters, and tomorrow we get to go biking around on old cycles and investigate really old ruins. Marvellous.

Okay – all that typing has made me thirsty. Goodbye.

Sukhothai Tuktuk

Sukhothai Tuktuk

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