Life in Thailand continues to agree with us. Any mention of snow or northern climes brings shudders to Mary. Maeve has been walking around today with a sweater... very disappointing for true Canadians. And while Maeve talks about visiting friends in Japan to go toboganning or Canada to go skating, Mary and I believe that one small arctic blast of chilled air would bring her quickly back to her adopted home and paradise: Thailand.
We enjoyed a wonderful New Year's Eve drive south of Chiang Mai to Sukothai; a former capital of Thailand and major site for temples (wats) and palaces dating back to medieval times. Time and earlier civilizations have a different connotation to those of us from the west. All you have to do here is see a modern village tucked around a thirteenth century buddhist wat to appreciate how ancient is the east.
We were tuckered out from the beautiful drive and headed to bed early - a trend we have developed over the past few years. We were awakened by the thunderous crash of fireworks for midnight. Andrew was awake anyway as the bed was essentially composed of bedrock! I think we all kissed for a happy new year, but who knows!
Sukothai and several of its secondary surrounding sites enjoy the status of being UNESCO World Heritage sites. This means they are well cared for. They have good facilities and make access for tourism easy.
At Sukothai we rented bicycles and explored the tremendous grounds. Dozens of sites exist within and without its ancient city walls and double moat. Maeve loved riding with her mom. We took so many photos that we filled all of our camera's memory cards! Two nights at a wonderful little guesthouse were enough, and then we headed further south.
Near Kampaeng Phet there are further satellite ruins of the Sukothai period. Outside of the city is also a wonderful national park called Klong Lan which possesses the most beautiful waterfall. We had a great picnic here, saw some wild gibbons swinging down from the trees to take a few food offerings from the picnickers, snapped pictures, tested the cold waters, and headed back to Kampaeng Phet to explore the temples there. We stayed over night at a hotel and then headed back north.
North of Sukothai is another satellite medieval ruins site of large proportion. We stopped off to stomp around some more wats and then had a lunch where Maeve fed some more gibbons. They loved mandarin oranges. Maeve felt that they must miss their families.
The drive home was not too long. The secondary highway we took was beautiful and had little traffic. It was a good trip all around.
And so we are back home. Maeve is playing with some of her friends. She has her dolls and toys to surround her. Mary and Andrew have their most comfortable bed and their favourite spots on the couch and the reading chair. We have the weekend to enjoy and then it is back to the trenches. We are recharged.
Happy New Year to all.
We look forward to hearing from you this year. We hope to see you this year. We also expect to have more visitors to our humble home; make reservations while you can!
The MacLachlans - Mary, Maeve and Andrew