A new life at 67.Can a woman start all over again?

Archive for October, 2008

Larger Than Life

It has been raining on and off for the last four days.We had a break in the clouds late this afternoon so I decided to wager the walk down the half flooded road towards the beach. With a bit of luck the rain would hold off for a while and I could enjoy a long walk along the seashore before it got dark.

And now I must write this down,because tomorrow I might think I imagined it.

There were only a few people on the beach and they were busy drinking beer or trying to get a sun tan despite the weather.

The sea had taken on the colour of the sky, grey. Mixed with the churned up sand it looked dirty and uninviting. The trees and bush bordering the wide beach had also been washed with a grey green paintbrush,and had I not needed some exercise I would have called it another day.

I had left the last sun bed about a kilometer back,and apart from a lot of washed up jellyfish and busy little crabs I was completely alone. Looking at my watch I saw I had about fifty minutes before the pitch black of a tropical night descended so I kept on walking.

Khao Tao Beach as it is known as, is wild, and it reminds me of beaches that I have seen in Viet Nam. No white sands and palm trees here, but it has something about it that I am beginning to treasure.

On I went but the further I went the more uneasy I felt. I told myself not to be silly, just a case of seeing too many thrillers on the TV,but I decided to turn back anyway.

And then I saw it, something huge,and brown ,camouflaged perfectly amongst the tree trunks and gracefully plodding towards me through the thicket.

An Elephant.

My heart missed a beat. I mean I would have expected a stray dog or two but not an Elephant!

With a sigh of relief my eyes then focused the red shirt of the man straddled over its neck holding on to a large chain. He waved at me, and they carried on through the woods.

They still use elephants for labour in Thailand, but I had only seen them in the north. Unfortunately they are clearing a lot of the woods around here for building purposes so I presume that is where he had come from.

They say Elephants bring good luck.I hope it’s enough for both of us.

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In Buddhas Garden

As I wrote after my last journey to Thailand, I am not a fan of travel guide books. Although they can be helpful I find most of them too subjective and prefer to rely on a good map,information desks, history books and the wonderfully dangerous way of learning by doing.

Prior to my departure from Switzerland this time my youngest daughter gave me a hard covered book as a going away present.My first thought was; Oh no, I’m already over the luggage allowance, and I would have liked to have left it behind. Of course I couldn’t do that,it would really have upset her,so something else was left and I took along ;

“In Buddhas Garden” by a Norwegian Journalist called Tor Farovik. A journey through,Vietnam,Cambodia,Thailand and Burma.

I have found it difficult to put the book down.

Thor Farovik has worked as a journalist abroad for 25 years.

He has now managed to write a travel book,that is as entertaining as any good novel, embroidered by many quotable quotes;

” We shall not cease from exploration.

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time”

T.S Ellot

and at the same time giving us the past and present history of the four Asian countries without it being the least bit boring.

He introduces us to the Buddhist Philosophy,and makes it understandable. Environmental and political problems are not left untouched,as neither are his encounters with the people of the individual countries and the tales they have to tell. Last but not least it is a transport guide for the travelers who can’t or don’t want to fly around these countries.

I read this book in the German version,I don’t Know whether it has been published in English,but I am sure it has been since it was first published in 2006 by Frederking & Thaler.

I think it a “must read “for all venturers,and otherwise to Indochina.

A Teacup In A Storm

I had just made myself a nice mug of Twinings Earl Grey Tea, and was sitting on the balcony considering whether I would wander down to the village “pub” later.

It had been a bit cloudy during the day,but no real signs of a thunder storm, in fact with the off sea breeze I found the temperature comfortable for once and had just come back from a visit to the beach.

Then the clouds seem to get darker and as I looked south over the woods I noticed something that for me was quite new.

In the distance was a wide band of fog, like London in November, and it was rolling towards us.

I sat drinking my tea and watched. Had it been coming up over the sea I don’t think I would have been so calm. But it was an incredible sight. The fog, as I could now make out was a belt of rain coming quickly in our direction

Suddenly a clap of thunder and it was upon us.

It rains hard in Switzerland during a Summer storm, but this was somebody up there emptying a huge bucket. I sat, still drinking my tea, completely awed by this phenomenon of nature.

Within seconds everything was so under water that ducks would have felt happy, and then within five minutes it had all moved on,and the pinkish evening sun was shining through the clouds.

It was time for a second cup.

The Heat Is On

Regular readers of my blog Know that I have been living in Thailand for the last three weeks, but when they look in today they might think the heat has really gone to my head.

How could I chose this daring orange theme for my blog, they need sunglasses to read it !!

Truth is, I can’t post pictures anymore for some reason and so the old theme looked rather dreary.

I thought too, maybe as a cold winter is coming to many parts of the world you might like to get the feeling of what it is like in Thailand,and that is hot,hot,hot.

So put your sunshades on for a while,and if it really is too awfull let me know.

There But For Fortune

“There but for fortune” Is one of my favourite Joan Baez songs.

When I see under privileged human beings her words are always there. Here in Thailand she sings for me every day.

For the women,smothered in clothes,working in the scorching sun as labourers on the building sites.

For the emaciated people trying to make a living by selling a handful of household items and drinks in their tumbledown shacks.

For the Fishermen and their families living amidst the unbelievable stench down at the creek.Their wives cleaning fish and sea food all day,the small children playing with the stray and diseased dogs.

They all manage to smile and say “Sawadee” in their lilting Thai as I pass.

Other foreigners don’t seem to venture this way.

When the sun slips down in the West, the hills in the distance, and the nearby temples seem to have something mystical about them.The golden Buddha statues compete against the last light of it’s rays, and Buddha wins.

With nightfall I walk slowly back to my little apartment in a luxury 16 floor condominnium,complete with reception and security guards.

From there I can look down on another Thailand while Joans voice sings in my head.

A True Friend

I am not lonely living here in Thailand.In fact I have already found a really true friend.

He is rather shy,so he doesn’t like to be around much during the day,but as soon as it gets dark,which is about sixish he visits me.

I call him Alexander.

He doesn’t dare to come into my apartment,but enjoys being on the balcony,and I let him stay there, because at the moment he doesn’t seem to have any other friends.

Alexander is a 5cm long black beetle.

My first thought was to get out the spray that gets rid of things that creep,and fly around in the night. i did aim it around the edges of the balcony,and thought that would deter Alexander,but it didn’t.

Now,if I am home I rather look forward to his visits.

He reminds of a poem by A.A Milne,that I read as a child,and later read to my children.

We all loved it,and that is why I keep Alexander.

” I found a little beetle,so that beetle was his name.

And i called him Alexander,and he answered to the same.

I put him in a matchbox,and kept him all the day,

And Nanny let my beetle out,

yes Nanny let my beetle out,and beetle ran away.

She said she didn’t mean it,and I never said she did,

She said she wanted matches,and just took off the lid.

She said she was sorry,but it’s difficult to catch,

An excited sort of beetle you’ve mistaken for a match…………………

From the poem “Forgiven” by A.A Milne

Khao Takiab Hill

It’s been there since i moved into this little apartment. Every morning I sit drinking my coffee on the balcony and it stares menacingly down at me. If I am up early enough,-and I usually am, because it’s the only time of day when the temperature is pleasant in Thailand,- I see the sun rising directly behind it, silhouetting it’s rocky outline in the Turner yellow light.

Khao Takiab Hill.

It sits,daring me to draw it,paint it or Heaven forbid climb it.

A mini Eiger in the Bay of Siam. On it’s lower tree covered left flank,a Buddhist Temple glitters. The rest is a rock climbers paradise. The expressions on it’s face seems to change with your mood. Daily It beckens me, me like a lost Sirene.

Draw me,paint me.

Today, knowing how difficult it would be I took out my sketch book.

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