Day trip to Ayutthaya, former capitol of Thailand

Trip Start Oct 31, 2012
Trip End Dec 12, 2012

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Today I am off to Ayutthaya, which once served as the capitol of Thailand. As a result, the kings who ruled from there built wats (temples) all over the area.  Some are still in pretty good condition, while the others have fallen to ruin over the hundreds of years that have passed, mainly from the poor quality of materials used, or were destroyed by warring armies. 

To get to Ayutthaya, since I am doing it on my own, I am up at 4 am, at the Northern Bus Terminal by 5 am to catch the first bus out, then travel for a little over two hours to get there.  When I arrive, I hire a tuk-tuk driver to take me to about seven sites.  Unfortunately the places are overwhlemed with people, as it is a three day weekend for the locals.   

Throughout my trip, I have had no troubles pushing people back after being pushed by them, telling people to be quiet so that I and others can hear what is being said by tour leaders, telling other photographers that they are rude and inconsiderate for not taking their turn, or blocking me from trying to take a picture, or telling people to get in their proper place in line, as the rest of us didn't just stand there for no reason.  (I'm really not an agressive person with psychological issues, but for some reason, the worst comes out of other travelers in this part of the world.  I've never experienced it at this level before in the 60+ countries I have visited.)  Today, I surprised even myself as to what happened, as it was all done in a foreign language…the language of the offender.

At one site, there is a popular photo op that includes a statue of Buddha that people like to sit next to and mimic his pose while their companions take their pictuers.  People stood in line patiently waiting their turn, not a problem.  When it was my turn, since I wasn’t with anyone, this girl, who had already been in line a few people ahead of me, and had gotten in some pictures with her friend, decided to go right back to the statue and sit next to it, as if the image was only of interest to those in groups of two or more.      

When I heard her speak Spanish with her companion, I was taken aback.  I know that native Spanish speakers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and all other attributes that are found in the world, but for some reason, her speaking Spanish surprised me.  Regardless, I wasn’t going to have any of this, so my mouth opened and the words just flowed….in Spanish!

When I took Spanish for two years in my mid-thirties at the local community college, my teachers would always say that it’s not what you say in Spanish, but how you say it.  While this holds true for all languages, they added, it is especially true with Spanish speakers, as with Spanish speakers, everything – life, language, attitude – is all about feelings and passion, so you have to feel your words when you say them, and be passionate about it.  Oh, I felt them alright, and with a passion that came with it.   

So, when she stood next to the statue, blocking my turn to take a picture of the statue, I let her have it.  I said to her, "Por favor, senora, !espere!"  (Please, ma’am, wait!)  But my “wait" wasn’t of the nice variety; admittedly, the "por favor, senora" wasn't either, it was in the imperative form – a command where it must be said with force to convey the notion that you mean business!  (I can still remember that chapter in Spanish 1A, as we had to repeat the words over and over in a commanding tone when we studied that tense.  Apparently Spanish speakers don't listen very well, so the imperative tense is one of the first you learn if you want to communicate, and use often.)   When she heard me speak Spanish to her, you should have seen her reaction, as well as that of her companion’s – they were taken aback, startled even, more so than I was when I heard myself admonishing her in Spanish and not in English!  (There were a lot of Spanish speakers at the site, and in Bangkok, so it wasn’t like they were the only two in the region.)  I then told her to wait her turn, as it was my turn, and she already had her turn previously, so to get back in line.  She did step aside, but kept repeating “por favor” (“please”) over and over again, as if I was to add "por favor" to her, as if asking her for a favor.  WTF?  If I added anything to my statement, I can assure you "por favor" wouldn't be it. It would have been one of those words that can't be used in the imperative tense, bout would be just as strong, if not stronger.

So this is where I have to give a shout-out to all the bitchy people I have encountered in life, as they have taught me well, though it doesn’t come naturally to me as it does to them…but I’m working on it.  I turned to her, gave her a look of questioning and of bitchiness, and said in my bitchiest voice, “Es posible.”  (“It’s possible.”)  She shut up right then and there.  I thought to myself, not only is this girl inconsiderate, but she’s also crazy!  I snapped my pictures as fast as I could because I wanted to be as far away from her as possible.  As I left, I only hoped that my pictures turned out after that incident!  

At the same site, there is a Buddha head that is nestled in a tree’s roots, making it very photogenic.  It’s the iconic image used when promoting Ayutthaya.  After waiting my turn to get to the front of the line, I’m standing there, lining up the image in my viewfinder, and just as I am about to press the shutter, this Russian guy cuts right in front of me, blocking my view, hence no picture!  Even though I can’t speak Russian, I was just about to let him have it -- I was sure he’d get the gist of my admonishments from the tone of my voice and my facial expressions, but then something happened.  I think it was karma.  As he was trying to get himself situated in a position where the Buddha head and he would be in the same picture, he somehow got tangled up in the rope that is used to separate people from the Buddha head.  All of a sudden, there was a big, loud thump, with him falling hard to the ground, flat on his back and ass.  (I swear I didn’t push him!)  With him no longer blocking my view, I snapped and snapped and snapped, then stepped aside for the next photographer. 

Once my visit to the sites was over, it was back to the bus station, then I had to endure the slow moving traffic back to the city, where it took almost four hours to return, twice as long as it took to get there, but that's Bangkok traffic.      
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