Thailand: Central

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).

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.

Kanchanaburi: The River Kwai. "A First For Me"



December 5, 2004


Dear Family and Friends,

I am resting on a chaise lounge, on a raft, after a brief and breathless swim in the swift, churning currents of The River Kwai. Life vests courtesy of the hotel.

To my right the sun is disappearing behind the hills across The River.

At this point on its journey from Burma to The Gulf of Siam, the narrow River Kwai is slicing through the steep green and brown hillsides (it's winter now), exposing several black and gold vertical stone outcrops.

So, if the hills are so steep, where exactly is this hotel? On The River, my friends, on...the...river.

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.