It was the second day down the Mekong and the God of Thunder was asleep on the back of the boat. The Three Graces were getting sunburnt on the bow before returning inside to play cards. Apollo flicked his cigarette ash into the river in synch with his twitching foot. Huckleberry Finn, who’d been sent home from the war in a body bag of opiates, looked as if he might jump. Assorted prodigaals wandered the deck, passing wooden bench to wooden bench, comparing travel routes and swapping near-death experiences while cheerfully swigging Beer Lao. I was perched on the railing – one foot outside, one inside, left arm crooked behind me to grab the pillar for balance, right hand clutching someone else” ipod… Continue reading
I saw the dentist yesterday who verified that my wisdom teeth were indeed coming in (had come in) and that they were problematic; I have a “very very very small jaw” and the teeth are “quite large” and coming in “transverse” – “very problematic”. There is no question that they have to be removed and, given that I’m going to have a series of infections until they are removed and suffer the pain – the sooner the better. Normally, the dentist told me, he would be able to do the extractions – but my case was “so difficult” that he referred me to a dental surgeon.I saw the dental surgeon for a consultation this afternoon. The dental surgeon took a look at my mouth and winced. He looked at the… Continue reading
Tachilek is the sort of town where the architecture far outshines
the furnishings.”It’s a border town,” I’d been warned, “don’t expect
I’d pictured a Tijuana, full of embroidered sarongs rather than
piñatas, tinsel Buddhas rather than dayglow Christs; when I arrived I
felt more like I’d stepped onto the moon. It was, fittingly enough,
gray and overcast without as much as the suggestion of a breeze. Not
only were the people and the cars mysteriously missing (the roads were
more than wide enough but in two days in Tachilek I saw perhaps ten
cars – most of those parked) there was no sense of desperate fervor.
The buildings were too large for the inhabitants, the clothes too big
for their wearers. Tachilek resembled a colonial ghost town – faded
derelict colonial architecture and rusty motorbikes with no review
Crossing the border… Continue reading
I wake at dawn to do yoga on a mountain top. Mist rises in the valley below as the clouds float into the sky above like a curtain peeling back.I sleep in a mud-and-straw hut with a thatched roof. Orange curtains, the same color as the monk’s robes, hang in front of the fine blue netting which covers the windows.
Cooking classes commence once we’ve all gathered in the Coffee Shop each morning. The Coffee Shop has, technically speaking, neither walls nor corners. There are a woven mats covering the floors, two long low benches molded from the same earthen clay as the floor and counter, shelves of books in both Thai and English, bamboo curtains, pillars… Continue reading
[Various excerpts from my journal… Bit fragmented, sorry!]
I can’t manage to slip my gaze past the valley without it getting caught. I find myself staring off into the view, which is nearly omnipresent. (I find the other guests – even the other residents – doing the same on a regular basis; to say that the view is distracting would be an understatement.)There are more shades of green on display than I had imagined existed.
The peaked roof of a Buddhist temple stands out, as do the red-tile roofs of the larger houses. Rice fields form a patchwork quilt, held together by various crops and decorated by random trees. Untamed patches hover at the sidelines; palm trees fill the… Continue reading
I was so, so, so very close to having a passport this morning.
Woke up at 6:40 to catch the 6:45 truck to town, threw on some clothes, stuffed my sleeping bag away, and set off to run through the rice fields to the road (toothbrush in hand, Theresa-style); ran into Caroline who told me the truck wasn’t coming due to the Chinese New Year; ran into Theresa who told me the truck was waiting. Due to the confusion I was the only one (of what should have been a large group of us from the farm) ready to go into town – but I went – managed to communicate with the driver, even, get off in the right place and orient myself in Chiang Mai. Found one of… Continue reading
Playing solitaire for two hours accross the street from the US Embassy makes the guards incredibly nervous.
It wasn’t Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday and it was, indeed, one of the two days of the week that the Embassy was open to the public – but when I arrived the Embassy was, nonetheless, closed. I’d slept later than I’d intended to, slowly pulled myself together, asked around the hostel for directions (no one knew how to get to the Embassy or even the river, but I did get 100 baht – after having dinner the night before I was down to 60 baht – from two Canadian guys who took pity on me), tried to walk it, gave up and got a tuk tuk (50 baht).
Only to find it was lunchtime.
I… Continue reading