By Audrey in Sukhothai
31.10.2009 - 08.10.2009
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We said kap kun kap (thank you) and farewell to our Thai family and boarded the bus for Sukhothai, one of the old capital cities of Thailand. We are staying at a nice little guest house run by a Thai/Belgium couple called J&J. It is one of the few guest houses in the area with a pool. As it turns out, none of us can swim this week. Taro got pink eye on Saturday, which is more appropriately named red eye in Thailand. I got it on Sunday, Dave got it on Tuesday and Kiyoshi is working on it now. Taro's eye cleared up in two days as did mine and Dave is experiencing the worst of his today so he should be better by tomorrow. It just shows you how quickly bacteria spreads when you live in close quarters in a hot climate.
Sukhothai is known for a large area with ruins just outside the city. Being about half way between Bangkok and Chaing Mai, is a popular place for people to stop and spend a day or two. Being the tourists that we are, we hopped onto the back of a truck (this was the public transit system in town) and went off to see the ruins.
The truck dropped us off at the gate of the ruins which also happened to be a bike rental shop. We rented bikes for a dollar each a day. Taro jumped on a seat behind Audrey and with Kiyoshi strapped to my back, we were off to see the ruins at a less than break-neck pace.
The boys enjoyed their first bike ride in months though it didn't really last long. There was a festival going on in the grounds of the ruins. Just imagine the Fringe Festival times 1000 and set in century old ruins. The annual Loi Krathong festival happens on the 12th full moon of the year and is an excuse for people to get to the ancient city, shop, eat and watch some fireworks. The idea behind Loi Krathong is two fold - to worship the God of Water and to send away bad luck and ask for good-luck in the future.
Kiyoshi made friends with some of the performers. Hopefully he didn't spread his red eye to anyone.
We learned how to take the husk off of rice. Kiyoshi got a little help from one of the monks.
Had a snack.
Looking at these pictures, I have to share with you what Taro said when he was done. He looked at me and proudly said, “Mom, I didn't spill any.” He was right, he didn't spill any on the ground. It was smeared all over his face.
We had a lovely day wandering around so we headed back to the hotel for afternoon naps, planning to return again that evening. Well, were we in for a surprise when the sun went down. The Sukhothai grounds came to life that evening. You could buy beautifully ornate hand-made lanterns made from banana leaves and flowers then float them off into the water or away in the sky along with all of your bad luck. You could see hundreds of candle lit lanterns floating in the sky for miles and miles and all of the ponds were saturated in candle lit lanterns. To add to the ambiance, the ruins were all lit with candles and lights were shining on all of the Buddhas. It was very difficult to get any decent pictures without a tripod so believe me when I say that it was one of the most spectacular festivals I've ever been to.
Here's a photo of the boys floating away their lanterns.