Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay

For two weeks I lived in a fisherman's village.  Roads are wooden docks which branch off one main dock, houses are built on stilts which sit over the water, and a long cement pier leads to a beautiful, non-functioning, lighthouse. There are 4 restaurants, a handful of souvenir shops, a couple bars, an internet cafe/bakery/coffee shop, numerous massage spots, and a 7eleven at the village entrance.

Generally, I wouldn't take a 10 hour flight, a near 6 hour bus ride, an hour long ferry, topped off with another 40 minute long bus ride to reach a remote fisherman's village at the southern most tip of a island in Thailand, where I would confine myself for the following 14 days.  But this wasn't any given trip.

Months before, I came across a workshop to learn a few techniques in Thai Yoga Massage.  The 5 hour workshop flew by, and I found myself eager to learn more.   The thought of taking lessons to be certified intrigued me, but the thought of taking lessons in Thailand had me sold.  That was really all it took for me to make the long journey to the little village of Bang Bao.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Thailand I didn't see

Days before my trip, various colleagues came to me and asked if I was still going due to the floods.  I'd smile and say that I'm bringing my swimming suit just in case. It amazed me how nervous they were... but then again, I avoided all news-related articles on Thailand.  Because, had I seen this before I left, I might have gotten nervous myself.

(From the moment I flew into Bangkok until the moment I flew out from it, I didn't see any flooding.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A rude awakening

It feels like a dream.  If it weren't for my photographic evidence, I might believe a dream is all it really was. A dream that I was abruptly woken up from.  One I wish I could return to by rolling over and shutting my eyes as tightly as I can.  But every dream must come to an end at some point... and it's only the flashbacks that I can hold on to.  The ones that make me escape my reality for a split second and feel the warmth of the sun glowing on my skin once again.

Monday morning as we were taxing into our gate, just before 6:00, the pilot announced over the intercom, "... and the current temperature is 2 degrees."  (Celsius, that is - otherwise I would have died).  I had just left near 90 degree Fahrenheit weather for temperatures in the 30's.  A thick gray mist loomed outside.  I garnered all the courage I could to step out of the plane.

Two hours after we landed I was home and showered, but barely awake. At that point I had been up for over 30 hours, and I was beyond exhausted. But I made my way to work.  Because that's what you do when you've used up every possible vacation day (all 5 weeks of it).

I biked in the cold, bundled in a hat, scarf, mittens, coat and boots.  My eyes were so tired, my vision was blurred.  The gray mist didn't help.  But I arrived in one piece, although a bit drained.  I turned on my laptop to find more work waiting for me than I could have ever imagined.  I was overwhelmed. I wanted to close my eyes and pretend I was still in Koh Chang, Thailand. Right then my manager walked in.  She took one look at me and said, "I'm so sorry you had to come back to this."  The word "this" encompassed more in my mind than what she was implying, and my exhaustion overtook my emotions.  So I cried.  And then through my tears I laughed in embarrassment.

That was Monday.  Today is now Sunday.  There is still a thick fog covering the city.  The weather has warmed up a bit, but the sun has barely made an appearance since I've arrived. So I hang on to the flashes of memories which feel more like a distant dream, and I feel better.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

It's a funny thing, taste buds... at least mine anyway.  A little over two weeks ago I left the land of bland food and sat down to an in-flight meal thinking, "mmm... this tastes good."  But throughout the 14 days following that flight, I was presented with a splendor of heavenly, mouth watering creations - each dish better than the rest. On my return flight, I could barely eat half of the food on the tray the steward offered me. My very first meal back home was at my company's canteen (cafeteria).  Not only did the price of the 2.50 Euro hot dog seem astronomical, it was barely edible, and nearly vomit inducing. (And that was even the best item offered).

Clearly, Thailand tainted my tongue.