Thursday, April 07, 2016

As always I have no idea where to start... Other than the beginning, but that in itself is a rather tricky situation. Where even is the beginning?

I have just journeyed back from the tropical delights of the Kingdom of Siam, and am suffering from a a serious case of withdrawal. I travelled on my own, learning to love myself once again, and indeed discovering that my normally rather cold and calculated demeanour, melted away under the blazing sun and I am ready to try and care about other people. 

Of course I have always cared about my friends and my family, that goes without question, but my apprehension is more towards opening up to other people, allowing them to get to know me a little more intimately, rather than accepting me for the more brusque and brash personality that I am known for. It's a wonderous feeling to be so alone in another country where I do not know the traditions, culture or the language. It is truly eye-opening to discover how much I do not know about the world. It is humbling to be accepted by strangers with a wide smile and kind offer of hospitality. 

There were sights I will never forget: fish the size of my body leaping out of the water, flying towards large pieces of bread thrown from bridges and decks on the shore; lizards lazing in the sun on low-hanging trees, their scaly tails taut against the branches in the wind; palaces of gold and silver, diamonds glistening at every turn; statues towering over the throngs of people that crowded around them in search of some good fortune.

I have so much love and respect for the Kingdom of Siam, it was stunningly beautiful in parts - the river, the palaces and temples; the places of worship - both spiritual and material - yet they were contrasting in a painfully obvious, yet ignored way, with the squalor of wooden huts and corrugated metal houses that were hidden in plain sight, overshadowed by the grandeur of the architecture. It was an enlightening place to visit, and I know that the three days I had there weren't enough to do the city justice. I'm sure I shall find it in me to travel there again at some point in the future. 

The monks were something to behold, their robes of orange clashing brilliantly with the hue of the city, but more than that, they held themselves with such a poise that they were revered from across the street. Furtive glances were kept low out of respect and yet the monks had a look of serenity upon each of their faces. I was entranced by their very presence, even more so when I saw them out of context, beside the markets and peddlars rather than contemplating life beneath a fresco of their beloved Buddha. I still have so much to learn.

D. S.