Apologies for the radio silence of late. Setting up in a new city sometimes gets the best of your free hours meant for blogging…that, and I just haven’t been home!
This past weekend my school had a long weekend. My teaching partner and I took advantage of this by traveling seven hours by bus to Sukhothai, a northern ancient city in Thailand.
The sleepy ancient town of Sukhothai hosted the early Sukhothai kingdom, which ruled there for about 300 years. The kingdom’s ruling period is thought of as a key landmark in Thai history and is even considered to set the basic foundation for Thai nation-hood although traces of Thai culture can be found much earlier.
The wats (Buddhist temples) were all very well-kept and on expansive clean grounds. It was easy to navigate both the new city and each of the historic parks have some beautiful hidden gems tucked away in the rolling country side. There’s not a whole lot to do beyond the ruins of Sukhothai, but then again, I was in the business of not doing much this long weekend.
Flooding there was – submerging roads, whole neighborhoods and even the train tracks for half of our five hour “speed train” home. The water has risen to a higher level than normal this year leaving many Thais nation-wide homeless. On our train home we saw many a community that had relocated to the high ground, the train tracks. Setting up tents, lean-tos and fully functioning kitchens on the neighboring tracks you couldn’t help but feel terribly for these displaced people.
One interesting thing I read regarding the flood in yesterday’s Bangkok post was that the Thai government used tug boats, tied to a bridge, and running full speed upstream to increase the flow of the river. By making the water flow faster down stream the idea was that the flood waters up north would recede at an quicker rate. The interesting thing was that the newspaper reported the river in fact speed up 20% more than its normal flow. Word on the street is Bangkok and southern provinces are now gearing for the waters. We’ll see how that goes!