Daily Journey Journal #149: monsoon lullaby

The first few drops hardly caught my notice. My eyes were busy, traveling through the stores we passed and down the uneven sidewalks, past scooters and cars, walkers and talkers. Then, the drops began to fall harder, prompting a pop up of my umbrella.

And then, it began to pour.

Buckets and buckets of drops falling, beating the ground hard and fast, almost as if in anger. We ran for cover, waiting for it to lessen then started out again before ducking once more under an awning. The last dash to the hostel was soggy, the water unrelenting. Shoes squishing, shorts dripping. We splashed unsuspectingly into the puddle waiting to welcome us at the front door. A last wet goodnight before we turned in.

It’s been raining now for hours, hard and steady. On the roof it sounds like light drumming or a muted applause to a beautiful concert. Thumthumthumthumthum. Thumthumthumthum. Now that we’re out of it, tucked away inside, I can appreciate its determination to soak the earth, its intensity. Tonight, our last night before the new leg of the journey, it will lull us to sleep and make the city anew for the dawn.

Advertisements

Daily Journey Journal #148: true blue eats

From October 22, 2014

Tucked away in a row of low, cinder block, tin roofed buildings, the little restaurant doesn’t look like much. A few picnic tables sit along the sidewalk. Several smaller tables are hidden away in the nooks and crannies below the tin roof. There are almost no walls, just little fences marking off the restaurant from the yard next to it. While it seems like a pell-mell affair, it is so much more than meets the eye. Steaming plates of Pad Thai, savory vegetables in sauces of garlic and ginger, curries, fried rice, fresh fruit shakes of any kind. This is it, the place to go to get true, blue, non-tourist food. And no matter the weather, no matter your nationality, no matter what, you’ll be met with a smile and kindness that makes you feel welcome.

Daily Journey Journal #147: friendly giants

From October 21, 2014

I first fell in love with elephants when I saw them on the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania. Everything about them made me laugh. They are so odd and beautiful that part of me can’t believe that they are real.  Since the Serengeti I have wanted to understand them better and, silly as it sounds, touch an elephant. My opportunity to do so came today when we went to an elephant sanctuary close to Chiang Mai in Thailand. The elephants have all been rescued from terrible situations. Getting to visit and see these friendly giants was a great pleasure and an amazing opportunity, especially after learning about the horrible situations from which they were saved. There is so much to say about this, but for now, I’ll just share some pictures so I have some time to digest all the information.

Daily Journey Journal #145: traveler’s chant

From October 19, 2014

 

Ninety minutes until our train departs. Fifty four kilometers until Bangkok.

Seventy one minutes until our train departs. Forty nine kilometers until Bangkok.

Sixty three minutes until the train departs. Forty five kilometers until Bangkok.

Don’t panic, I tell myself.  And for goodness sake, stop watching the clock!

I glance outside the front window and my stomach plummets. There is nothing but a sea of red brake lights for as far as I can see. Four lanes of traffic creeping along. Hiccups in travel plans are all part of the game, I know, but they are just so stressful. I dread them and after twelve hours of travel via boat and bus already, I just want to jump on that train to Chiang Mai and pass out until we arrive.

Fifty eight minutes until the train departs. Too many kilometers to Bangkok.

Silently I begin to chant, We will make it. We will make it. We will make it.

Thus far on our trip Lady Luck has been with us, helping us to make all our connections and find our way. I beg her quietly to see us through this too.

We will make it. We will make it. We will make it.

Forty five minutes until the train departs. We are in the outskirts of Bangkok.

Oh, please, let us make it…We will make it. We will make it.

If we get there in the next fifteen minutes, A says, then we’ll make the train.

Forty minutes until the train departs. Things are starting to look familiar.

Make it. Make it.

Thirty seven minutes until the train departs. Come on light, change!

Thirty three minutes….and there, I see the street. We WILL make it!

A and I bolt from the bus just as the clock hits the thirty minute mark. Miraculously, our bags have already been pulled from beneath the bus and there are cab drivers waiting on the sidewalk. We stuff our bags in the taxi, drive like crazy through town and arrive at the train station with mere minutes before the train departs. Tickets already bought, we walk as fast as possible with our luggage and board right on time, the last passengers to make it on our car.

We made it. We made it. We. Made. It.

I climb up onto my bunk and heave a sigh of relief. Lady Luck, thank you!

Sometimes all it takes a some positive thinking and luck to make it through. We will make it!

Daily Journey Journal #144: new friends

DSCN9094 Koh Tao is interesting for a number of reasons, but particularly (at least for us) because unlike the other places we have visited so far, animals like cats and dogs, are really quite friendly. While they tend to be strays, people here usually feed the dogs and cats hanging around which means that they love people! Yay! This little cat at our hotel keeps wanting to sneak inside with us and cries rather sadly when we have to leave her outside. Every time she sees us coming in the gate she tags along after us, hoping to finally slip inside.

DSCN9121

And today, while at the beach, we made friends with this adorable little puppy. She had a hurt leg and so she sort of hop-gimped alone with us, up and down the beach. We tried to get her to stay where we found her, but she just kept following us and ended up inside a cafe with us for lunch. She was so sweet and friendly, completely unlike most of the dogs we have encountered. Several people stopped by to pet her, all old friends it seems, who have had the pleasure of her delightful company for a day.