Ayothaya, Ayutthaya, Ayudhya Thailand

Ayothaya, Ayutthaya, Ayudhya Thailand

Evie to me, “Why do people keep wanting to take my picture?”  Me, “No idea.  Maybe they like oddball looking people around here. ”  Eye roll, tongue out.  You’ll thank me someday, Evie.

When it was time to leave Lisa and Joe in Bangkok, things got real local real fast.

To be clear, this is a scouting trip.  We aren’t on a normal “vacation”.  Here’s the question – is travel a sustainable way of life for our family?  Is this part of the world really is as cheap as everyone says it is (or maybe… is it still cheap when you’re paying for 4 people vice just 1 or 2)?  Would it be affordable to come back for an extended stay – say 6 – 9 months?  Would we want to?

Scott is working.  Maybe he’s not working fulltime like when we’re in Maine, but every day he’s carving out at least a few hours away from us to work on his business.  The kids and I are maintaining a loose schedule.  I’m making frugal spending decisions.

In the interest of being cheap, we’re saving money on transportation by moving around like the locals and we’re staying in hotels and guest houses that cost $30/night or less.  

We took the Bangkok sky train to the end of the line, walked a mile in the noon sun to a public bus station and hopped on the first minibus we could find headed to Ayutthaya, Thailand.  Yes, we stood out like a sore thumb.  We were Great White Gringos with too many bags and hot kids in a sea of petite Thai folks who all looked they just walked out of a refrigerator (sweaters?  is that really necessary people?  it’s above 90 deg and humid… this is the tropics). 

There was excessive staring and sweating.  So be it. Carry on.

Scott being Scott, he was predictably less than enthusiastic about my plan (but, as always, willing to be a good enough sport). There’s no major security threat in Thailand (at least in this part of the country, at least right now) so the only reason to not like the slightly dirty, possibly cramped, kinda smelly minibus idea is because he was being *the dreaded* prissy.  Ohhhhhh no, Sir.  That is not how we roll.  We are a full experience kinda family.

He self-corrected when he caught himself being an NN (Negative Nancy).

Besides, I got all 4 of us from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, an ancient city about an hour north of BKK, in air conditioning for under $7 (total, not each).   I may not be good at coupons, but budget travel… well, I’m your girl.

On the minibus (and no, we weren’t scrunching together to all get in the photo – this was how it was):

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Ayutthaya, Thailand.  Incredible.  Mesmerizing.  UNESCO.  Lara Croft level ruins.  Never heard of it?  Me neither before this trip.

(In full {embarassing} disclosure, I didn’t know Siam = Thailand so… you know… I’m not the most reliable source of world factology.  Life Long Learner.) 

Anyway, Ayutthaya was a major trading port from the 1300s until the 1700s when the Burmese burned it to the ground.  Back in the day, it was equal to Paris in terms of population, wealth and fame.  It was considered one of the hubs of the world… if I had to venture a guess, something like Hong Kong is today?!  And it was stunning – temples, architecture, art, power, prestige.

What’s there now?  The stone structures remain.  The ruins of the old city, temples, monasteries. They’ve also rebuilt some in the last couple of centuries.  We took a tuk tuk tour of some of the sites during the day and a boat trip to see more in the evening. 

The city is an island surrounded by 3 rivers so there’s water everywhere.  Evie and Jack enjoyed the transportation to/from the sites more than the sites themselves. 

In an epic homeschooling fail, I couldn’t find anything in English to explain what we were seeing as we went.  Nothing like being half a world away, literally walking through history and having limited ability to explain it to the little people.  Scott and I both have local sim cards though, so we were able to get on the internet for some acceptable Wikipedia overviews.  Let’s just say it was more about absorbing the place holistically through personal interaction than academically or historically.

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The local beer (because I like beer):

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The nightlife in Thailand is always interesting (some of it is even family friendly).  These are 1-2 person nets hung out over the river for relaxing and catching the night breeze.

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Jack and I got up with jet lag around 6 am.  We walked down to the local market.  Not being an adventure eater, this was something of a mistake for me.  I haven’t been hungry since.  But it was interesting…

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These were alive until we watched the gy wack off their heads.

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Big fan of the tuk tuks.  He can’t wait to tell Uncle Todd about it.

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I’m not sure… is it really only non-Thai that are suspects for this???

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We need to spend a little bit of time learning more about Buddha and Buddhism. She now knows the likeness, but we (and I mean all of us) aren’t there on the details of the religion yet.

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Getting on the boat tour.  Me and the dog, same same (but there is not enough money in the world to pay me to get in that water):

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Asking for good luck:

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We showed up to this amazing place on the same night that a famous drummer was in town.  All the Thai ladies came in their absolute best clothes and…. wow… was it amazing to see.  It looked like an old-timey movie set.

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Finally, I’ve started taking pictures of all the people asking to take pictures with the kids.  What do they do with these pictures?  Do they look at them?  Do they show other people the cute random kids they saw?  I just don’t get it.  It doesn’t bother me necessarily (although both kids know that if they don’t want to take a picture they don’t have to and I say no if it’s not a good time for us), but it does totally confuse me.  What do they do with the photo?!? Why……?????

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Stayed at the Ayothaya Hotel.

 

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Traci Warren