After spending some time in Bangkok we decided to start the journey up to Chiang Mai with a 6 hour stop in the old capital city of Ayutthaya. 650 years ago this was the seat of power for Siam. It lasted for about 400 years, and now much of the city is in ruins after an invading Burma army destroyed the city in 1767. It’s still an amazing place to explore and learn about its history.

We packed our huge bags, checked out of our hostel (Lub.D), and waited at a bus stop because neither of us had tried the city buses yet. After waiting for a good 25 minutes for a bus that was supposed to come every 11 minutes we hailed a taxi and asked to go to the train station. He said 100 baht; he capitulated after we both demanded the meter be turned on, and it ended up being only 45 baht. We bought our ticket to Ayutthaya in third class for 40 baht and then our sleeper car ticket to Chiang Mai for 796 baht (around $27). When we asked which train to get on the uniformed agent said car 1, 2, 3 as he pointed at each. We thought he meant 1, 2, OR 3, but what he actually meant was 1, 2, THEN 3. So after settling into our comfortable second-class seats and remarking what a good deal it was we were told that we had to move to third class which consisted of non-reclining seats that were nothing more than thinly covered pieces of wood. But it was only 40 baht for a two hour train ride…or roughly $1.30. I wish Europe’s trains were this affordable!

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Southeast Asia Adventure

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
– St. Augustine

When I left for an 8 month work assignment in Palo Alto, California a good friend of mine suggested that I keep a journal in order to share the things I learned. It as a good idea, and I told him so…but I never did keep that journal. This time, though, I’m going to do my best to write at least weekly about my adventure in Southeast Asia!

Some of you may have heard me talking about it: I’m taking a four month sabbatical from work and heading to Asia. The reactions I get when I tell people this are interesting: they either fall into “That’s awesome!” or “How can you get four months off?”. As I reflect on the why and try to look back on the genesis of the idea it actually originally started because moving to Bangkok for work had come up as a possibility, and I had started talking with my manager about what it would look like if I moved there for another short-term project. The project ended up not getting legs…but the idea of moving to Bangkok had been planted in my mind.

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