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    Tropical Storm Tour: Thailand Part 9

    Friday, June 12, 2015
    Ayutthaya, Thailand

    Victory Monument in Pratunam, Bangkok, Thailand.
    Victory Monument in Pratunam, Bangkok, Thailand.

    Unintentional minimalism at the Victory Monument in Pratunam, Bangkok, Thailand.
    Unintentional minimalism at the Victory Monument in Pratunam, Bangkok, Thailand.

    After a week in Thailand’s megalopolis, I started to feel all Bangkoked out, so I packed up my backpack and took a trusty bus number 15 to Siam, where I boarded the SkyTrain to Victory Monument. The place was “constructed in 1941 by military dictator Plaek Pibulsongkhram to commemorate the 59 Thais who lost their lives in the short and inconclusive Franco-Thai War. It resulted in Thailand annexing some territories in western Cambodia and northern and southern Laos. However, Pibulsongkhram was kicked out in 1944 and the patch of land gained by Thailand was handed back to Laos and Cambodia in 1945, making the ‘victory’ a little hollow. Today, this Bangkok landmark is better known as city’s largest local bus hub.”–Wikipedia.

    Yellow Curry at Tony's Place in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
    Yellow Curry at Tony’s Place in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

    Tony's Place in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
    Tony’s Place in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

    The whole giant roundabout is ringed by stores, shops, food / clothing stalls and bus stops. First, I hiked around the whole big circle, looking for a place to eat, as I heard there was some good street food to be had there, but I could’t find anything. Maybe the vendors were all down some nearby side alleys. The streets here are so wide, you have to climb up and down a high pedestrian bridge over each one, which is exhausting with a huge, heavy pack on your back in the brutal tropical heat and sun. For the first time on this trip, my shirt was soaked with sweat.

    Wat Senatsanaram Ayutthaya in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
    Wat Senatsanaram Ayutthaya in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

    Roosters guard Wat Senatsanaram Ayutthaya in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
    Roosters guard Wat Senatsanaram Ayutthaya in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

    I started looking for a bus to Ayutthaya, but couldn’t find anything, as almost all of the signs on the counters and buses themselves were written in the Thai alphabet only. After wandering back and forth for a half hour and asking several clerks, I finally made it to the right mini-bus stop. It took three tries for me to actually board one, as those sneaky little Thais kept swarming around me and swooping in ahead of me. I felt like I was back in India! I managed to get my backpack on a mini-bus the second time, but there was no seat open near it. The driver tried to get me to sit in the back away from my backpack, but I wouldn’t have any of that, so I got annoyed and yanked it off the mini-bus and laid it down by my feet. A couple of people on the bus glared at me.

    Pad Thai at Tony's Place in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
    Pad Thai at Tony’s Place in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

    Finally, I made it on the third mini-bus, which had air-con, for a nice two-hour ride up to Ayutthaya. (The ride was also quite harrowing at the same time because of our driver, who tailgated other vehicles the whole way.) Luckily, I got dropped off on the street where many of the hotels are, so I booked a room for two nights at the PU Guesthouse. The place is run by a chatty older lady who is equal parts nice and grouchy and always sits on the floor in the large reception room. After resting up and napping all afternoon, I took a walk right before dark to check out Wat Senatsanaram Ayutthaya, an unusual Buddhist temple in that the entrance is guarded by giant roosters instead of dragons! A pack of mean, aggressive dogs snarled and barked at me in an alley, but I shouted at them and luckily they backed down. After a Pad Thai dinner at Tony’s Place, I called it a night.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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