They live as timeless beings.
Everything seems to be covered with an invisible layer of dust.
It is not dirt, it is just that nothing glows and sparkles like it does in the bright light that seems to pervade our home in NZ.
We had booked an airport hotel, since we arrived in the evening and had a flight to Manila the very next day.
The hotel looked decent on the Internet, but not so good in person.
The beds are hard as a rock, the shower inconsistent with changing pressure and erratic hot and cold temperatures.
Regardless, we slept very well that night.
We took a walk to a nearby row of restaurants and chose a place that seemed to be filled with locals and had a picture menu. Easy to understand.
The spicy green papaya salad was tangy and fresh, the steamed Morning Glory Greens dish was awesome, the fried rice was good and served with fresh cucumbers and spring onions.
The stir fried seafood dish had fresh peppercorns, basil, galang Thai ginger, something that looked like peas but wasn’t, and lots of other interesting flavors.
It might sound like the normal Thai food you get in your town, but trust me, it was way, way better.
The food was good and they placed a mosquito repellent coil burning by our feet.
There was also a fan to cool us nearby.
Big families of Chinese people dined next to us.
They downed whole bottles of whisky, one after the other and took selfies of themselves on their smartphones.
The service was somewhat friendly, if you don’t look too close to notice the tourist-weary looks on the girls’ faces.
The next morning, from the windows of my hotel room, Bangkok shows its many faces.
The airport area is busy with wide roads surrounded with green fields.
On the green river, an old couple lives in a one room wooden house with a corrugated iron roof.
They have no running water. They store water in many large plastic containers by the side of their house.
Laundry hangs under their patio awning.
A small veggie garden is planted by the river.
The old lady weeds the garden squatting down in the easy way that workers in Asia do, but which is almost impossible to do if you have western knees.
They walk around their small plot of land half naked, comfortable in their weather worn brown skins.
I think about all the wealthy elderly people I know in Jupiter, Florida or Boca, or Palm Beach… None of them is as comfortable in their skins as these Thai people.
Who knows… They might not even HAVE a mirror in their small home by the river….
Mirrors are curses of the gods of vanity and insecurity….
But is is not just mirrors that make us body-conscious and insecure.
It is a whole lifestyle that is divorced from the harmony of nature, that causes every adult in our societies to become uncomfortable in their bodies.
Kids are always comfortable in their bodies.
Adults rarely are, and most elderly people carry their bodies as if they were a separate entity from them.
Adults in our society always wear shoes, which break the connection between us and the earth.
We rarely squat unless we do it in the gym for a short period of time.
We do not sit on the floor for hours without back support, we lounge on comfortable sofas or beds.
I am also not yet as comfortable in my body as I was when I was a child.
I am working to improve this.
In the studio, I paint sitting on the floor for eight hours with no cushion or back support.
I also meditate sitting with my legs crossed.
At times I rise up feeling achy and stiff, but it gets better and easier with time.
I know that we are improving, because sitting for long hours in airports waiting for our flights and sitting in the economy class flights for ten hours have not make us achy or weary.
We felt good and comfortable all the way to Sydney and on to Bangkok.
White geese float on the green river beside me.
It almost feels harmonious and peaceful here… That is if you do not look to the other side of the road, which is full of traffic, tourist services, and malls. This is the side where the commercial and industrial parts of life consume people, and abstract their vision of the harmony inherit in the matrix of life….
We have decided that Jules will start sharing his own trip observations on my blog also.
We have been sharing both of our photographs for years now, but for the first time we will also be sharing our impressions in the same space.