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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • January 20, 2006


    Chedis at Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Ayuthaya

    On the morning of Dec 7 2005, I boarded the wrong train from Bangkok's Hualumphong main station that wouldn't stop at Ayuthaya, the Siamese royal capital from 1350 to 1767. About an hour after the train pulled out of Bangkok, a conductor informed me the unbearable news that I had to get off the train and followed the track to the closest station. I mistakenly got on a delayed train that was held at the same platform as the one that would take me to Ayuthaya. Thai rail service is not reliable in the regard that change of departure time is often unannounced.

    Arrival in Ayuthaya shortly after 10 am. I walked down the street through the old city flanked by food stalls and shops to the river. I took a short ferry ride for 2B (US$1 = 40B). For touring the ruins under such scorching weather, the most economical option is to rent a bike from one of the nearby guesthouses for 30B a day.

    Wat Phra Si Sanphet was the largest temple in Ayuthaya in its time and it was used as the royal temple and palace for several Ayuthaya kings. It was used for royal ceremonies and rituals including giving alms to the monks from other temples, and performing the Wian Tian ceremony on Buddhist holy days, which entails circumambulating the Viharn three times at night holding an offering of a candle, flowers and incense.

    Built in the 14th century, Wat Phra Si Sanphet once contained a 50 feet-high standing Buddha covered with 500 lbs of gold, which was melted down by the Burmese conquerors when these invaders sacked Ayuthaya in 1767. Wat Phra Si Sanphet is now mainly known for the line of three large chedi (stupas) erected in the quintessential Ayuthaya style. The remains of ceramic water pipes were found in the grounds of this temple, testimony to the architectural and cultural advances in the old days.


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