Thailand: Central

Sukhothai - Si Satchanalai: "Motorbike with Aun"

June 25, 2003



I flew north to Sukhothai, checked into The River View Hotel (crummy view of a muddy river) and hired a driver and his tuk-tuk - a small cart with a roof and benches powered by a motorcycle in the rear.

The local museum has a colorful display of antique local porcelain. The items are very well marked in English with clear explanations and fascinating stories of The Buddha. There are arrows on the floor that direct visitors around the exhibits.

The Sukhothai Historical Park contains a large number of temple ruins and palaces. Ornamental lotus ponds and irrigation systems and a statute of the King Ramkhamheang who invented the Thai alphabet in 1283. The highlight is Wat Sri Chum, a temple housing a massive seated Buddha that measures 11 meters from knee to knee and 15 meters high. As I enter the small and intimate temple with this imposing Buddha, I feel I am entering the "holy of holies." Imagine sitting at the foot of Buddha more than 45 feet high.

Buot Nak: "The Monk Ordination Ceremony"

Chida Chavienghong Nong Saeng

Saraburi Province, Thailand

November 17, 2007

Dear Pi Da,

(cc: Family and Friends)

It was a wonderful surprise to see you again. We have been friends in Miami for almost six years and finally, we met in Thailand.


Thank you for inviting me to the Buot Nak for your son Rachawat. Thank you also for giving me some of the basic information regarding the ceremony.

Ayutthaya: Happy Birthday Lek

March 11, 2009
Ayutthaya, Thailand
Dear Family and Friends,

I couldn't believe it! Amazing!! It's been four years since that big birthday party for my friend Lek!!! *

I met Lek in Nang Rong where she worked as an Optician. Now she's thirty-four and has been promoted to Branch Manager at a very busy Top Charoen Optical branch in Ayutthaya.

We don't see each other very often so I decided to take the short bus trip up to Ayutthaya to bring her a present and to have dinner.

But first, despite the afternoon heat and my mild medical infirmities at the moment, I hitched up my camera bag and sped away on the back of a motorcycle taxi to explore the ancient wats (temples).

Suphan Buri: Just By Chance

Suphan Buri
Suphan Buri Province

26 January 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

I first met my friend Cherry in May of 2007.  She was a tour guide and her group made a stop at the Hua Hin beach resort.  We met by chance at a food stall there.  When Cherry took a job as a teacher in her hometown of Suphan Buri, I decided to visit her and see a new area of Central Thailand. 

We toured the city, visited the City Pillar Shrine and the Chinese Temple, and just by chance, participated in a Monk initiation ceremony at a temple near the Buffalo Village Museum.

Utami: "My Genial Guest"

2 May 2010
4:00 am
Dear "Parents,"

With assorted emotions, I just put Utami into a taxicab for her pre-dawn drive to Suvarnabhumi Airport and her flight back to Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.  Are these the feelings a "father" has when he says "Goodbye" to his "daughter" as she heads back out into the world and he doesn’t know when or if he will ever see her again?

I met Utami five years ago in Kuta, Bali.  She was "happy to accompany" me on my trip to Java.  Two years ago we traveled together in Sumatra.  This year, for her twenty-eighth birthday, Utami decided to make her first "overseas" trip.  Despite her parents’ concern about the political situation here in Bangkok, Utami was determined to visit Thailand.