Just go: Thailand

A TRAVEL PIECE

By Angelina Tsimberov

 

Keep Walking, though there is no place to get to. Don’t try to see through the distances. That’s not for human beings. Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move

– Rumi

 

From the first moment, I rolled my freshly-packed suitcase down knobbly Khao San road in Bangkok, I knew there was something refreshingly unique about the place. It began to speak to me in a way I had never experienced- there was a texture to its soul.  The first conversation between Bangkok and I was the early morning and the light that held still- a soft purple grey haze. Starving, I ordered some stir fried flat noodles from a street vendor and sat down on a battered white plastic patio chair to eat them. The language sounded so beautiful as they communed the start of their day. Listening to the heartfelt singing as I ate my food made me feel a closeness to home. I returned to the spot where I had bought the noodles over the next few days but I never found it again. I later realised that the Universe will recognise in you, a willingness to live vicariously through the other- but it may or may not only happen once.

Thailand, known as the land of a thousand smiles. I was fortunate to be among many more singing, beaming, laughing people. Even though it were a culture far from my own, I felt a warmth and acceptance from the locals. The dialogue between myself and the soul of the world I was now immersed in grew deeper as I oft strolled through the fruit markets.  The alleyways were stained with the smells of Dragonfruit, bright pink magenta with curly lime green leaves and a deep red speckled fruit inside. It had also been ages since I’d seen star fruit, fresh litchi in different varieties and my beloved passion fruit.

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In Thailand, there is a customary practice of placing flowers on Shrines. The temples were celebrated and the way in which the unspoken happened remain hidden between myself and the spirits of that space. So delicately, everyone had a story. I had a story and the flowers I had held in my hand had travelled through time itself to be laid out for the unknown.

There is a Romanticism lingering in Asia and I have made my peace with it.

The warm air is heavy against my skin as a local offers to take me around on a scooter.  I am one with the tropical humidity and it envelopes me but the wind offers me a relief from the scorching sun.

There is a freedom about these roads.

Every bend in the road could unveil a new narrative- a new conversation to be had with the landscape. A stately mansion, an ornate temple, or a flower shop bursting with colourful arrangements for offerings.

The moment will find you and that is what happened.

With every awe-inspiring sight revealed past harrowing turns in the road as I scootered, my hands would grip the handlebars tightly and my enthrallment mingled with a practical amount of fear. It was liberation and entrapment as I watched them glide by their lives with such carefree elegance as they defied the laws of physics carrying them forward.

There is no isolated moment to choose from. Each speaks differently.

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The Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. Eloquent beats that wander the Earth in a walking manner of prayer. It’s simply how I prefer to interact with elephants. My request responses ranged from funny looks and laughter to meaningful smiles of understanding. I didn’t want to ride one, I just wanted to speak to wander.

Thailand’s landscape is changing.

Many people in the tour group were in tears as they were told what the elephants had experienced in their lives.

Their lives- like our lives.

But this changed and soon sadness became beauty as we all fed the elephants and interacted with them and there it was- another moment from the Universe.

Except this time- I didn’t have to return over and over.

I was present.

 

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