Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wat's Goin On

4T Guesthouse Bungalow in Sukhothai, Thailand
We left Bangkok just after noon...not the time I liked to because it gets us to Sukhothai right at dark without a hotel. I just hope there is a little light left or there is an information booth at the bus station to guide us towards a place to spend the night. In the meantime I'm on an island...a concrete island with buses idling on both sides of me with the rhythmic shuffle of people and sweepers. I don't have to worry about falling over because the air is so thick I'd never hit the ground. Our big Mercedes bus pulled up and now we board into a nice air-conditioned cabin. These buses are not standard fare people they've had the Thai package added such as very elegant drapery all around, spiced up color schemes for the upholstery, and chandeliers...ones that Grandma would be proud of. The buses have a team..a driver of course, a navigator, and a hostess. The hostess gave us water, fried rice, and some little dough covered fig paste pastry.  We pulled out right on time, 12:30pm and rapidly left Bangkok, north to Sukhothai. These drivers are fearless but respectful unlike many of their breed in Mexico. By the time I saw the turnoff for Sukhothai, I thought we would be dropped off by 5PM which would be daylight to check out a few places but culture gets in the way logic (well at least mine), and we passed the turn off to drive 30km to begin dropping off all the other passengers at each of their own custom stops before the last person (excluding us) was let off. Then the hostess sacks out, the bus speedily retreats 30km to the Sukhothai bus station arriving at a dark 6:30PM. I made my last step from the bus when two young Thai men came up to introduce their 4T Guesthouse and for 30bht, roughly one dollar, the...what is it boys and girls?...right...the Tuk-Tuk driver will take you there to check it out. Tired, hungry, and not having any idea where to go I said "load um up driver", who in this part of the country sits in back as we passengers ride up front, blocking the insects for him.  Well the travel gods again were with us because this lovely place has served up well for three days. It has a great restaurant, pool, and individual bungalows with air-conditioning. Ah...thank you...thank you...thank you. 
Back Alleyway Personal Temple

Sorry for the corny headline but that sums up a big part of today. Like touring Europe for the first time, your sightseeing includes many cathedrals and after a few days you get the same response as 99% of others doing the same drill, "Seen one cathedral...seen um all". And for the most part here in Thailand and other Buddhist countries, the abundance of Buddha statues and temples can make you brain dead, I mean they are thick with um here. But last year when I returned from Thailand I began to take notice of how many houses of worship our American neighborhoods sport and I quickly discovered we pretty much dominate the quantity of god houses per square mile. It's just most of our parishes, synagogues, or churches are boring architecturally speaking. In fact many slip into strip malls and sell smokes and ice on the side.
Buddha Sharon

A little before seven this morning we left our very cute $20.00 a night bungalow in (you should all know this by now) a Tuk-Tuk and headed off to the "Old City" Sukhothai to explore the ancient temple ruins that were at there peak sometime around 1200 to 1300 AD. About the same time the Maya and the Inca were lighting up. We were well schooled on arriving to the site early morning, (in our case 7 a.m.) before the tour buses, and once there, rent a bicycle to get around. Both were very good pieces of advice because later the throngs of tourists and students were very prevalent and the bike permitted two areas of comfort. First to flee from over populated sites and second, to create a breeze in the stifling heat. OOOWEE she be hot today. The early morning was very nice but overcast which made my photographic images flat but at least the temperature wasn't peaking. Later, about 10AM, the sun broke through and the photography improved but the waterfall off my frontal lobe resembled Havasupai Falls. By this time Sharon retreated to a shade tree and took up reading while I continued on with camera and sponge.

It was almost noon and I rendezvoused with Sharon to return our bikes and meet up with our.....very good...Tuk-Tuk driver. Again the service in Thailand can't be beat. On the way back Sharon mentioned it would be good to get an afternoon Thai massage. OK everyone I want to warn you, if you ever get started the $7.00 an hour Thai Body Massage like Sharon did she is on a daily schedule. I must admit, I'm hooked too. Today my masseuse sent me to the moon quite a few times. That meaning the pain was beyond my pain threshold zone but I endured it and I feel the better for it.
Sharon at Sukhothai

Now we must move on and tomorrow Sharon and I board the bus to Chiang Mai once our laundry is returned to us. In Chiang Mai I have a special treat for Sharon, a really, really nice small hotel in the old part of the city. It's called The Charcoa House. We'll hang there for 5 days to do things like visit another temple...also we will go to a Thai cooking school, go to an elephant work camp, go to night market and stroll around the large beautiful park in the south east end of the old city. Between all those great fun adventures I will plan our route into Laos to catch a 2 day boat ride down the Mekong River.

The trip is rolling strong which is why I'll need another massage tomorrow.



  1. I am jealous of the warmth! I am still freezing indoors in a long-sleeved shirt with a jacket and leggings under the skirt.
    I miss you both so much.
    Love you too.
    Sadie is next to me at the school and she says that she is cold too.
    Hope to talk to you soon.

  2. This is SO exciting! I love following along. Can you Facebook me (Sharon) if you get closer to knowing the dates of your arrival here in Paree? Because we're looking around for some cool place for you to stay and one place requires advance reservations. Also let me know your hotel budget. LOVE and kisses, moi

  3. A Thai cooking school? How wonderful! Looking forward to the Stetter Sala menu upon your return! I can't say enough about how brilliant your photos are, Curt.

    Keep on truckin'.
    Love you both!

    P.S. The word verification is "exxpat"...hmmmm.

  4. Curt - I know it is late - BUT - tell me about the FOOD!!!!! Love Chris