I find myself wondering how I can be here, or in Thailand or any other place I seem to land. Last weekend David and I went to Chiang Mai for a brief visit, but we did so much that it felt like a long journey. At this point I am non-plussed by cities, so we ventured 45 minutes north of Chiang Mai for mountain biking and kayaking.
It felt so good to feel my body moving on the open road again. I felt like toad from The Wind in The Willows with his motor car. Most of my exercise these days is limited to a pool or a yoga studio, especially since I had my “pump bump,” otherwise, known as Hoagland’s’ Deformity, shaved off of my heel. I wish doctors knew that when they tell me that I will be walking within a few days that I take them literally. This has taken forever to heal due to my own stubborn impatience. Anyway, I was up for a ride through the rice paddies. Our first stop was a brand new temple in the countryside. It went on and on like India. Every corner I turned had a delightful surprise — lines of ebony-colored soldiers facing a Budda-like figure, roosters with feathers of red, orange and silver, dragons coming out of a serpent’s mouth, rats, lions, elephants, and tigers against a teak background — enough to leave me breathless. Our guide had to drag me away. The rest of our time was spent barrelling through rice paddies, lush, without rice, fields of garlic and cilantro.
Hours that seemed like minutes later, we arrived at the river to start our kyack. It was the first clean and swimmable river I have seen in my travels. I do not think that tropical countries have the kinds of lakes that we have in New Hampshire. The river’s current carried us for hours meandering in a crack in the earth. We could not see above the banks on which 10-foot stalks of grass grew, but we didn’t need too. The birdlife and the sheer joy of being in the quiet natural environment were enough. We stopped to swim and watch our guide spear fish, then completed our journey.
Since I last wrote, I have been in Penang, Malaysia with Kate and Claire, to Singapore (which would have been better if I was off of my crutches) and Ko Lanta, an island off of the south of Thailand. There we had a great kayak, boat ride, and three-hour wait in the airport with a new friend. My job continues to be just what I want it to be, and I still do not miss teaching one little bit. This weekend I am off to the eastern side of the Malaysian Peninsula to a hotel in the coastal town of Kuantan. Then David and I will go to Vietnam in two weeks before he returns to Putney.
My plan is to sell my house and everything in it. I have lived without all of that stuff for two years, so I can do without it. This will fulfill a long-term goal of getting rid of stuff and carrying my life possessions on my back. I will return in May to see Claire graduate from Mass School of Pharmacy as a nurse! Then I will return at the end of the month to continue working in Malaysia until another adventure calls me.