Monday, October 6, 2008

Come Monday

This week's TAL episode is called, "Another Frightening Show About the Economy."  I love TAL and they've been doing some great new shows lately.  

My Google Reader tells me that JMG has a post about the ten year anniversary of the hate crime that killed Matthew Shepherd.  Having recently seen Matthew's mom speak, and having watched the film a few times this summer, I just can't read the post right now.  I will read it soon, but not yet. 

I'm exhausted right now, but lately I've been really proud of myself for working hard to build my self-confidence.  I feel myself aging and I'm aware of time passing and it's really important to me to live the life I want to live and feel satisfied and avoid regrets.  I'm doing that, and I'm proud of myself. 

Dido came out with a new song and I heard it for the first time this morning.  It's great.  And it reminded me of when her last album came out, which was during my years in Japan.  A friend got me hooked and it's all I listened to on a particular vacation to Phuket, Thailand.  Hearing her voice again this morning brought it all back . . . 

I used to stay at the Holiday Inn at Patong Beach in the Busakorn Wing.  (Sadly, the website says it's "newly renovated." It got wiped out in the tsunami. I visited once after the tsunami, and god, I guess I was blogging by then, so here is part one and part two.  In that post I mention the gross Bangkok Airport and making the decision to avoid it until its renovation, which was coming about six months later.  What the hell kind of life was I living - a dream? - where I could decide to try to avoid the Bangkok Airport?)  

Phuket.  It is the very definition of an oasis; one of the most peaceful places I've been, and that resort is heaven.  So I was there for ten days, and my routine was that I would get up, shower, and put my bathing suit on.  I would walk out of my sliding back door to the private pool and two steps out on the deck, the water would lap at my toes.  Three steps and I was one step down into the water.  I would swim to the small island in the middle of the private pool and lay on a lounge chair.  I had breakfast (always, always fresh watermelon and pineapple) and lunch delivered poolside, and I would lay there all day listening to Dido and contemplating life and meaning.  At 6:00 PM or so I would shower and go find some pad thai for dinner, and then walk along the beach.  Over and over and over.  Add in a lot of writing in my journal and tuk-tuk rides all over the island, and that was my vacation.  

I can remember every tiny detail tonight.  I remember the glass shower and how the water felt on my sunburned shoulders.  I remember the fresh smell of the orchids they put on my pillows. I know the road leading south where the elephants dip in and out of the forest.  I know the wooded area right before turning left to find Sunset Beach at the southern tip of the island.  The gibbon rehabilitation area.  Wat Chalong, with it's merciless heat and the concrete and the skinny, lethargic cats.  And the dead grass soccer field next to it.  

Dido has a song on that same album about going away for a vacation.  It says, "Two weeks away, feels like the whole world should have changed, but I'm home now and things still look the same."  I remember listening to that on the island in the middle of the pool, and listening to it later driving the four-hours between my offices.  I remember it all.


  1. I was in Thailand in 2002 and 2006. Both times I filled my diary with thoughts, observations, memories, aspirations, philosophy, things to check out back home, books I should read... Every day I met someone who told me something which had meaning for me. It was like I was finally awake - maybe I need that much warmth and sunlight to wake up. I knew what I needed to do to turn my life around.

    I wasn't in Phuket (sounds lovely) but on Koh Samui, and it's not like I was blind to the effects that tourism was having, the way the island was over-developing, the incredible poverty that was just around the corner from shops pushing our tawdry Western bling at cheap prices (uncomfortable to stare into that mirror). It's not like I didn't meet people desperate for me to help them escape their situation, offering themselves to me. It's not like I didn't walk through some of the beachside towns and see huge Western guys with tiny young girls.

    But it was still a time of opportunity, of possibility, for me. I'm afraid to look at my journals from those trips and see how my sincere 'next steps' were forgotten. I've had some stuff to sort out back home, of course, and I'm in a slightly better position to make some changes, but it's like I'm sleepwalking here and the dream shifts continually and time passes before something like your post snaps me out of it (briefly).

    Thanks for posting this. I might open up my journals again tonight


  2. i've had an open invitation to thailand for awhile and i feel myself aging every day i put off taking that trip. oh, life, you and your responsibilities. i have to keep myself healthy just so that one day i can do it right.

  3. I remember that Dido album vividly as well. It was during the time when I was rather depress with my life, and that album was somewhat of an inspiration to me. I believe that was around 2003 to 2004.

    The song that you mentioned about "two weeks away" and vacation was "Sand in My Shoes". I totally listen to that song and that album infinite amount of time. It's funny how songs do to us eh? For me, songs can instantly bring me back to the time when certain things happened in my life.

    Lovely post. :D

  4. Never been to Thailand, but did get to go to Laos. They tell me it's similar.

    Enjoyed the post.

    I need a vacation.