Part Two: Ayudhya
The guest house is unlike any I have seen at the beach resorts I frequent when I can escape my two jobs on holidays both schools recognize. "Tony's" is Thai style but with a difference. The inner courtroom of the lobby has trees, plants and is open air. The fans blow on us as we drink coffee with the strength that I think will give me super powers if I finish it.
My two teacher friends have booked a room at Tony's; they will share a room. I have opted for a room down the street. The room they share looks like a loft. Utterly NYC. Raw cement, some aging brick looking suspiciously like some of the "ruin" bricks we have seen, burnt orange walls and a tranquil Bhudda face smiles from over the bed.
As we chat over our industrial strength coffee we notice a Bhuddist nun, head shaved, dressed in white, chatting on a white cell phone. My friend bangs my other friend in the ribs. This nun, followed by a man, is the most famous nun in Thailand. She runs a retreat for women who have suffered abuse. Women go to heal themselves and their lives.
A woman's face is much more interesting cleared of make-up and without hair to frame it. The nun is tall and regal. Authority in soft folds of white give her an element of tranquility and patience. She looks to be an understanding woman. I have the urge to talk to her but she is whisked away into a waiting car. The man following her stays in the lobby.
The nun was a Thai super model. She had it all. The publicity, the income, the looks, and then made the right decisions to hit the big time in Asia. My friend fills me in. The man who was following the nun comes over to our table. He introduces himself. He's Tony; the nun is his sister.
Tony tells us he lived for a long time in Texas. His guesthouse is under renovations and he's recycling wood, tiles, and bricks and asks us if we'd like to see his apartment. Bottom, our waiter, refills the coffee and after the caffeine reinforcement we tour the owner's living quarters. Very trendy, very interesting and very unusual. The open kitchen is upstairs where the bedroom should be. The bedroom is where the living room should be. The great vat that overpowers the room will be moved out later that day. It is like a soy fermenting pot but huge. Brick floor, walls, old teak, wall hangings and more. A little girl runs screaming through the place and out to the lobby when she sees us "farang". She's playing it up, hands up over head as she shrieks in mock terror peeling away from us with her mother hot on her heels. She might be three.
That is how a couple of nights away can recharge you. The unexpected, the delightful and insightful can happen all at once. The odd thing is how karma works. The night before we left my friend had a nasty encounter with her boyfriend. I told her it was no accident that nun was in the lobby.
Best from Thailand,
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Guest Post: Bibi Continued
Part Two: Ayudhya