Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Parts Unknown

An interesting fact about Myanmar is that they are Thailand's historical foe and archenemy.  Roughly the same size in land area and population as Thailand, Myanmar, in 1767, sacked and burned the Kingdom of Siam's second capital, Ayutthaya.  Today, the ruins of Ayutthaya are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Historic City of Ayutthaya, founded in 1350, was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. It flourished from the 14th to the 18th centuries, during which time it grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center of global diplomacy and commerce. Ayutthaya was strategically located on an island surrounded by three rivers connecting the city to the sea. This site was chosen because it was located above the tidal bore of the Gulf of Siam as it existed at that time, thus preventing attack of the city by the sea-going warships of other nations. The location also helped to protect the city from seasonal flooding. The city was attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 who burned the city to the ground and forced the inhabitants to abandon the city. The city was never rebuilt in the same location and remains known today as an extensive archaeological site.  - Source 

My first weeks living in Bangkok, Kade's brother, who speaks little English, took me, who speaks little Thai, on a river cruise to Auyatthaya.   We got on a boat in Bangkok, and then stopped at the Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre.  Then, we stopped off at Bang Pa-in, which is the Summer Palace for the Thai kings of the past.  After that, we went on to Ayutthaya.  I just remember feeling so exhausted by the end of the day.  It was just hot.  My weight, after leaving the bank, and then backpacking around Asia, in which I did tons of walking, dropped from 190 (at the most) to 170, the weight I maintained for the four plus years I lived in Thailand.

For a movie that tells the epic saga of a Siam queen who was a heroine during the catastrophic final invasion of Ayutthaya, be sure to see The Legend of Suriyothai.

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