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"When we got off the bus, the sight that greeted me had me in awe. It felt as if I had been transported back in time, to a Bangkok many, many years ago."
- Rasee Govindani

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Thailand

The ancient city
by Rasee Govindani, 18, Bangkok, Thailand
Sep 15, 1999

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Rasee

While looking through my desk this morning, I came across a small flag of Mexico. I found myself smiling and remembering a day, a few months back, when I went to the Ancient City with my friends, exchange students from Mexico (Paola) and from Australia (Drew). Paola extended me an invitation to join her and Drew on a mini-adventure, and never having been there myself, I quickly agreed.

Paola and I took an air-conditioned public bus down the road to Drew's apartment, and the three of us then took another air-conditioned bus and rode to the end of the line, which was a little bit outside Bangkok, in a place called PakNam (mouth of the water/sea/river). It took about forty minutes to get there from where we lived and the bus ride cost us 16 baht each (about 50 cents US).

When we got off the bus, the sight that greeted me had me in awe. It felt as if I had been transported back in time, to a Bangkok many, many years ago. There were peddlers everywhere and bicycle rickshaws with old men perched at the seats, smoking and watching the world go by. Everywhere you looked, something was going on, and yet, it felt oddly peaceful to me. The streets were narrow, the stores were old-fashioned and we were probably the trendiest things there, in our jeans and sunglasses.

We decided to take a three-wheeled TukTuk, which was becoming a rarity in the city, and asked him to take us to the Ancient City, not quite knowing where we were going or how far it would be. The drive was fanstastic. The roads were well-paved as they led out to other parts of Thailand and you could smell salt in the air, as we had traveled east of Bangkok, towards Pattaya and the sea. At odd moments, you could catch a glimpse of the sun reflecting off a body of water. Being a complete beach nut, I was quickly excited about what laid ahead of us.

After about thirty minutes of not knowing where we were going to end up, the TukTuk finally turned up onto a huge wooden bridge that ran over a canal of sorts, and deposited us at a wooden shack at front of the Ancient City. The place was completely deserted and the ground was...orange. We paid 50 baht (about 13 cents) for the entrance and looked confused when she asked us if we had a car. We said no and gratefully accepted the map that was handed to us, eager to begin our adventure.

Before this, I had never even heard of the Ancient City or what waited for us there. My mother, a travel agent, told me that it was a place where historical monuments and ruins were miniaturized for tourists to look at. Okay. That made sense. Nothing prepared me for what I DID face there.

Ally McBeal?

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