The first thought that raced through my head after crashing my motorcycle on the streets of Bangkok was “GET UP, GET UP” before becoming road kill in the morning rush hour traffic. Wheeling my bike to the side of the road for a damage assessment revealed that the bike, with a broken mirror, snapped front brake handle and a bent foot peg was in decent shape. I on the other hand was slightly more banged up with a cut-up finger, a 3×5 note-card sized case of road rash on my right tricep and elbow, and from the pain in my side when moving or breathing I was pretty sure I had a broken rib.
X-rays later confirmed the broken rib and the doctor gave me a six week ‘take it easy’ diagnosis. Six weeks from the accident date put a full recovery into March which got me wondering what I was going to do about the upcoming March Powerkick Of The Month photo. From taking anti-inflammatory and pain pills to drinking milk three times a day and consuming as much calcium, iron and vitamin D as I could, I was doing everything in my power to try and speed up my recovery time.
Three weeks later with the bike out of the shop, the road rash all healed up and the rib on the mend, I was feeling good, although the inactivity was making me a bit antsy. I decided I was ready for a weekend ride to see how it felt being back on the bike and if the bumpiness of the road would jar my ribs at all. My destination, the old capital of Ayutthaya just a short 86km north of Bangkok. Prior to my departure I picked up a tripod which I hoped would help me get better photos on my bike and of course assist with Powerkick photos when there was nobody around to be my photographer.
Arriving in Ayutthaya late on a Friday night, the bike was running like a champ and my rib wasn’t too bothered by the ride. As I unpacked and looked over the city map, I planned to make Saturday a full day of cruising the ancient island kingdom on my motorcycle, exploring temple ruins and searching for a Powerkick location. With over 400 temples at its height, I knew I’d have lots of choices for Powerkick locations, but also have to be smart about how to spend the day in Ayutthaya so I didn’t miss anything or run out of daylight.
I was on the road Saturday morning by 7am to get a head start on the soi dogs, the crowds and the heat. Walking through the first few temple ruins of Wat Mahathat and Wat Thammikarat without crowds was great for taking photos and also very peaceful for reflecting on what things must have looked like here 400 years ago.
During the floods of 2011 the majority of Ayutthaya was under water, causing serious worry about the durability of the temple ruins. Made from brick and stone, the standing floodwater caused many temple foundations to weaken and sped up the process of pulling the ancient temples closer to the earth. When I rode in to Wat Chaiwatthanaram the affects from the flood were still evident, as there was a high water line visible on parts of the temple and some areas were taped off with red and white caution tape with ‘No Entry’ signs placed below.
It would be easy to spend countless hours taking photos here given the temple’s great location on the water and its beautiful 17th century Khmer influenced architecture. After circling the premises I spotted what looked to be a prime location. Facing the river is an elevated platform with three pedestals where two seated Buddha statues face to the east. With the third pedestal vacant, my thought was that this empty pedestal would be great for a Powerkick photo. So, I climbed up and unpacked the tripod.
Looking through the viewfinder the backdrop looked prefect and I took a few practice shots to make sure things were lined up correctly and to get an idea of where I needed to jump. I also checked to make sure that when I jumped my feet wouldn’t be above the Buddha’s feet or anywhere near his head as this would be seen as disrespectful.
Setting up the 10-second countdown timer I was ready to put my new 3-legged assistant to the test. I pushed the shutter button and as I ran over, hopped on and climbed up the pedestal to get ready to jump I could hear the timer counting down. Just before the camera snaps the photo a yellow light blinks rapidly signaling a 3-2-1 countdown. Looking for the blinking light and trying my best to synchronize my jump, I leaped into the air and waited to hear the click of the shutter.
Review of the photo revealed my timing was off and the photo caught my landing rather than my mid-air Powerkick. I repeated this process about 8 times without success, leaving me sweaty and exhausted. With rubbery legs and a rib beginning to ache, I knew I only had a few tries left. On the 11th try my knew assistant earned her stripes as the photo caught me perfectly mid-air. Feeling both relieved and excited about nailing the Powerkick as well as now having the timing down for future Powerkicks, I gave a wai to the Buddhas and packed up. With my photo mission accomplished I celebrted with some tasty grub and leisurely explored the reset of the ancient Kingdom.