Showing posts with label Thailand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thailand. Show all posts

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Enough To Fill Volumes

At the Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre, near Siem Reap, Cambodia
I had not intended to leave the United States in mid-September and travel around the world, but this is what happened. Yes, for certain I knew I would go to live in Venice, Italy where I stayed five weeks, and maybe visit India and Thailand.
On November 2, I was in Varanasi, India and by the end of the month living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In Thailand I realized I could only legally stay 30 days and began imagining where my footsteps might wander next. I chose the neighboring country of Cambodia and a visit to the famous Angkor Wat Temples. I only stayed one wonderful week, and circumstances brought me to Bali, Indonesia. By then I knew I would continue circling the globe east back to the USA. From Bali I went to New Zealand—and then my mother died and I hurried back to attend her memorial in Santa Barbara, California.

Over the course of 119 days, I made 25 paintings, shot thousands of photographs, wrote 17 blogs and made scores of journal entries, traveled by boat, train, car, rickshaw, bus, airplane and foot. The experiences are enough to fill volumes and will be woven into my future like so many brightly colored and various threads woven into a composition of exceptional fabric.

Now, my traveling is inward, into stillness, psychology, spirit.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

One Experience Flows Into The Next

The Lavender Umbrella, Chiang Mai, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 cm
Like unstoppable sand falling to the bottom of an hour glass, my time in Thailand is running out. I have to leave within a week, and although just stepping across the border to Cambodia, thinking of going away brings tinges of remorse.

I have Thai friends here in Chiang Mai, the streets are no longer confusing, I like riding my motorcycle, the cost of living is low, the climate is great, I have had good apartments including now when I can go swimming at the pool every day, I have made paintings and captured wonderful photographs. There is much more to explore—yet I am leaving. Thailand visa requires a limit of thirty days. I can turn around and come back immediately and stay longer, but THE DREAM is carrying me around the world and I must arrive again in the United States.

Papua New Guinea has always held an attraction for me, ever since I saw photographs in National Geographic of fearsome men in makeup and bones through their noses. I am making my way there, and have found that one of the cheapest routes is through Bali, where I arrive Christmas night.

In dreams, one experience flows into the next, with grand eloquence and abundance of awe inspiring surprise. This is THE DREAM, and I know it has many dimensions. I will stay in touch with my Thai friends, think fondly of them and keep them in my heart as I do with everyone that I meet along the way. With some people, it is never good-bye, but rather, we will see each other again.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Everything Is Part Of Everything

Life cannot be held, only experienced. To try and hold it is when we realize it is but a dream. When we believe we are in possession of something, in fact, this is illusion too, for nothing can truly be possessed, everything is part of everything else and is continually transforming and subject to external forces beyond personality.

When I lost my eldest daughter at age nineteen, after watching her suffer for two years while receiving the most skilled treatments and care, is when I truly became detached from holding on to anything of this world. Nobody can hold on to their most precious possession—their mortal frame, and I saw how much she loved hers and tried to keep it.

Certainly since her passing, from her vantage point of pure spirit in divine love within illimitable space, she has guided me to experience the world fully without fear, knowing it is a dream unfolding.

The traveling I am doing is full of dream sequences, beginning this year in September, living in Venice, Italy. My apartment was above a little stone bridge that spanned a canal that gondolas passed beneath each day. Nearby was a campo over a thousand years old. I like to paint, take photographs and write each day. After six weeks in Venice, THE DREAM took me to Cinqueterra on the Mediterranean coast, with its five magical villages hugging the steep, rocky shore, almost falling into the sea. From there, Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance and high art, where my apartment sat steps away from Michelangelo’s marble sculpture masterpiece, David. Each day, the DREAM wind blew me through the fabled streets, until one day it took me to Rome—the eternal city where it is said all roads lead. I have been there many times before and it reawakened an awe of human ingenuity and achievement, with its vast architectural wonders from the time of empire. I heard through the ages the echo of horses hooves as they pulled gladiator carts, and listened to stringed instruments play in markets bustling with commerce just outside marbled churches filled with masterpieces of art. In Rome I relished a stunning art exhibition by a contemporary artist who filled me with inspiration to carry into my own work.

From Rome, into the sky again to land six hours later in New Delhi, India and then to arrive in Varanasi, one of the oldest living cities on earth. Cows roam the streets amid the crush of people, with bodies arriving every day from all parts of the globe to be burned on cremation pyres that are always blazing. The ashes thrown into the sacred Ganges River mean that salvation is assured for the believers. I floated on the Ganges in a boat to watch candles lit and placed in baskets to drift on the water, and experienced the thunder of explosions marking the Diwali Festival. THE DREAM introduced bacteria into my body and intestinal illness, as it happened before when I visited India. I continued painting, but spent more time with photography, taking some powerful images, especially with an American friend who modeled in flowing cloth on temple steps overlooking the Ganges.

Almost in a daze of altered perception, a train ride of twenty hours brought me to the heart of the continent, to Pushkar, the home of the only Brahma temple in India, where I arrived at the beginning of a famous once yearly festival. Thousands of camels were brought there to be traded and sold, with gorgeous horses, tents, festivities and excitement. THE DREAM introduced a young boy to my side one morning to take me to his family who live in tents on a hilltop. The man is a maker of folk instruments, and he and his wife sang and made music for me. We become friends, and THE DREAM brought money to them through one my friends on Facebook who took compassion on their difficult life of extreme poverty.
I am in other worlds, and far from the events of America and other places where news of violence and political intrigue comes to me in bits and pieces.

Now I am in northern Thailand, and do not see camels but plenty of monks in flowing saffron robes amid ornate Buddhist temples with soaring spires above intricate gabled roofs and dragons guarding the doors. My stomach ailments have mostly gone away, and each day is exploration, photography, and either painting or writing. THE DREAM has brought me together after seven years with Thai friends from the past. Our lives are woven in DREAM.

As THE DREAM continues unfolding, I wonder where it goes and where it leads. Soon it will lead to Cambodia but after that, I do not have a clear picture of what lays ahead. Perhaps the misty mountaintop needs time for the the wind to blow away the shrouding haze—and reveal itself entirely in glory.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Slight Panic

Young Buddha disciples . . . Chiang Mai, Thailand
A few days ago I was in New Delhi, India biding my time waiting to go to the airport and catch a plane scheduled to leave for Thailand at 15 minutes after midnight the next morning. I had to book my quarters again from the previous night so as to be able to relax with my luggage in the room until 9 PM. The last time I had such a flight, I missed it because the 00:15 confused me. I arrived at the airport in Rome, Italy the same day but thought the flight to Nairobi, Kenya was in the afternoon. The attendant sadly told me I had missed my flight, so I had to book again at considerable cost.
This time, I was careful and while I waited I also made sure to check Thai visa requirements. I knew Thailand does not require US citizens to have visas on entry. But on one website, a British site, mention was made of the thirty day maximum stay requirement and I was surprised to see that a return ticket must be shown. A slight panic ensued, as I did not have one. Not recalling being checked on my previous visits, nonetheless I was uncomfortable at the prospect of being turned away at the airport. I called the airline and a lady in Thailand told me to check with the embassy! This, with only five hours to go.

In this day of instant possibilities via the internet . . . I began plotting. First, I took out my map of the world and looked to see where I might go in thirty days. I have been planning to possibly visit New Guinea, but in the end I chose somewhere nearer that I could get to from Bangkok for less than 100.00 dollars. In ½ hour, I found a deal and reserved my flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I will be near the famous Angkor Wat temple, the largest religious monument in the world, originally constructed as a Hindu temple around the 12th century for the Khmer Empire, but now a Buddhist temple.

At last, with all my proper paperwork in hand, I arrived at the airport and caught the flight to Bangkok and Chiang Mai. And guess what? Nobody asked to see my ticket out of Thailand.
Dragons, guarding a temple entrance. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Happened to July 8th?

Certainly, traveling long distances is mind altering. I boarded a plane in New Mexico that took me to Los Angeles, where late in the evening July 7, we took off on a sixteen-hour flight to Bangkok. I had already booked a hotel for my arrival on July 8, and made arrangements with my Thai friend to meet me at the airport at 9 AM. Then, during the flight I heard an announcement that startled me. We were landing July 9. Quickly, a nightmare unfolded in my mind of my friend waiting for me. I checked with a flight attendant who suggested I use the airplane telephone and call. My friend does not speak English so the attendant had to do the translating. Fortunately, we spoke, but I learned that my friend had been waiting five hours. Ughhh! I felt as though I was in an episode from the Twilight Zone, completely vaporizing a calendar day—July 8, 2009.

I have been in Thailand four days now, and although it is the rainy season, it has not rained and the days have been beautiful. After Bangkok, I am now in Chiang Mai, the second largest Thai city, in the north of the country, and getting a feel for life. Thai people are very polite and warm. I am getting used to seeing occasional elephants, hearing strange instruments played in the streets and riding a motorcycle everywhere. Last night I went with my Chiang Mai friend to dinner in a restaurant that has a huge buffet with raw foods of every kind. Servants bring drinks and then, after selecting your courses, you return to the table and cook your own meals over a big round broiler that looks like a big hat, with a raised middle for cooking meats and seafood, and a circular pan (brim) that boils water and makes a flavorful broth to cook vegetables, shrimp and more. It takes only minutes and is fun. You can cook and season to your own taste, and eat when you like, going back for more ingredients whenever you desire. The food stays hot and fresh right in front of you. All for less than five dollars a person. This one meal a day could be sufficient to live on.
Could I live here as an artist? I will begin to find out in the next days.
Some facts about Thailand.

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.