After a long bus ride from Bangkok, not knowing the arrival time, because no one in the bus spoke English, we’ve finally arrived to Sukhothai (The dawn of happiness). It was 2 am and a tuk tuk driver tried convincing me that he should take me to my guest house even though it was literally 100 meters away from the station. I entered the garden of the guest house and looked for someone to give me a key. There was no one there. They were sleeping. After waiting for a while a sleepy guy gave me the key and showed me to my room. Inside 3 lizards were hanging out, there was no internet access (even though the first thing written on the door is free wifi), and there were very strange sound coming from outside the window. At this point it seemed that I have entered the dawn of the dead and not the dawn of happiness. But what could I do? I went to sleep, hoping that the lizards would stay on their part of the room I’ve paid.
In the morning I took a bus to the historical park of Old Sukhothai. I also rented a bike, as the ruins are quite scattered and it is way easier to see all of them biking. The bike had a nearly flat tire, the seat was killing my butt, but I couldn’t be the fancy European princess and ask for something better, so I had to put up with it.
Entering the park and seeing Old Sukhothai made my eyes pop and my heart full. Even though as an archaeologist I should have walked around every stone, evaluating the historical and cultural significance, I couldn’t care less about the archaeological aspect. Because what really enchanted me was the Zen that I’ve felt just being there. I don’t know if that comes from seeing Buddha with his relaxed face expression, or from the lakes and the lotus flowers but it felt fabulous. I wondered about Buddhism a lot. I know this is a completely unsophisticated and basic claim but I think Buddhists keep their cool just from looking at Buddha. He doesn’t seem to be upset about anything, he seems relaxed and focused, so he encourages you to feel the same just by staring at his statue.
I went back to my lizard inhabited room with a local bus. The driver didn’t know where I was going, I had no idea where she was driving to, but we kind of went with the flow. It was a wooden bus, that only had 2 wooden benches. It had no windows, no doors and you had to jump on it to get inside. I’ve asked her a couple of times if she is going to where I’m headed. She did not answer. We stopped and picked up a bunch of school kids, going home after class. I still had no idea where we were going. At the end we arrived to where I had to go. She just smiled at me and I got off the bus. I’m sure she s been staring at Buddha a lot, that’s why she couldn’t care less. She knew she’d get me where I needed to be, so why the hustle and the few extra words? Just relax, everything is gonna be fine in the end. Or if not relaxed, go see a Buddha statue and you’ll get to that point in no time.