Thursday, August 04, 2005

Another day visiting ruins and learning about Thai history. This morning I got on a train to Lop Buri, about an hour north of Ayuthaya and with a number of ruins, although nothing like the volume found here. At one time, the king thought he'd make Lop Buri sort of his home away from home. So there is big ruin of the king's palace, along with a number of smaller sites that were home to some wats and other buildings. Lop Buri is quite a bit smaller than Ayuthaya and more manageable. Also not very many tourists so it was much harder to find people who could understand me. Even when I said the name of the town I'd get blank stares. The Thai language is very subtle. At least it is for my very heavy, thick tongue. I discovered that if I just say "Ayuthaya" no one knows what the hell I'm talking about, but if I say "Ayuthayahhhhhhhhh" they get it. And I have to make sure that my voice goes up on the last syllable.

My adventure today was when I got to the ruins of the king's palace and there was a bunch of school children also visiting. Naturally I waved to a few of them and asked if I could take a picture. That brought a number of others over to get into the shot. Then as I was walking away, a couple of girls came up and asked me my name and if I would write it down for them. Soon I had at least 50 kids around me asking for my autograph. Their teacher came up a few minutes later and said that they were learning English in school and that this was a chance for them to practice. Rock star for a day. Just show up in Lop Buri, find some school kids and get to sign as many autographs as you can stand.

Tomorrow it's on to Bangkok. I mentioned to David, while I was in Chiang Mai, that I was a bit intimidated to visit Bangkok. But he just shrugged his shoulders and said if I could handle New York, I could handle Bangkok. I guess I'll find out.

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