Sunday, November 09, 2008
River of Reverie
I don’t take anything for granted, so as THE DREAM reveals to me its wondrous surprises, I give thanks. In Kolkata I felt as run down as the dilapidated streets. In fact, just walking onto the dirty avenues and smelling foul air made me feel worse. Usually, I can handle such places while I engage and study the human factor, but with dysentery, my energy was gone. My thoughts often returned to the United States. Then, the night before I was to leave for Thailand, I received a surprise Email from a friend who had read my blog and she said she had good friends in Bangkok, and asked if I would like her to contact them. I am not entirely surprised anymore when charms arrive. I said yes, and the outcome is that when I arrived in Bangkok, Stan, a very likeable guy, two years older than me, met me and brought me to his spacious downtown apartment. That evening, we both enjoyed two hours of Thai massage. Stan’s wife is away and we have become friends.
The dysentery is gone, and I find that Thailand is appealing. Life seems relaxed compared to India, and people are open and warm. The famous Thai food is everywhere, streets are clean, transportation is good, and there is plenty to see and do. Today I visited The Grand Palace; an ornately designed and embellished complex established in 1782 that houses not only the royal residence (Thailand has a king and queen), but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Visiting this place had the same effect on me as the Taj Majal.
I have been here about four days and have received six hours of Thai massage for about thirty dollars. It is so good and inexpensive, that if I lived here it would certainly be a regular habit. The treatment involves stretching and rubbing muscles in a fluid symphony of movement that is uninterrupted from beginning to end. It all begins with a change into loose, freshly cleaned cotton garments and the masseuse bathing your feet in warm water, then patting them dry. During the session, her whole body plays into the treatment—including sometimes stretching and kneading muscles and ligaments with her feet while she has hold of you with her arms. If an area is painful, pressure is lightened and touch becomes caress. The vibes are loving and peaceful, and it is like floating pleasantly down a river of reverie.