Thai Massage Circus 2/10/16

The morning starts with 1/2 hour meditation followed by playful yoga for one hour.  The teacher – Baba – is very funny and helpful. This morning’s class we reviewed the previous days work.

I admitted to my partner that I had a biopsy and had not told anyone or spoken about it since I left.  They old me that their grandmother had passed three days prior.  We shared stories, built trust, relaxed and felt better.  We share a good practice.

After the morning practice we went over some of the moves that were more difficult.  Khao ran over my feet-cheeky little dog.

The people on the land say she will probably only live a few months because no one owns her and when we leave the locals will probably eat her.

p.s. there are no drains in the toilet or shower floors, the water that misses the toilet travels toward the river.  The whole structure is slanted for this to occur.  Its kind of gross to walk through so I wash my feet after and plan to get sandals in town on Saturday.

Sometime this morning I finally arrived.  All the headaches and body pains evaporated.  Thank God!  Its so beautiful here.  I’m getting more and more adventurous as time passes. Planning a fire show.  Everyone is so patient and forgiving of one another – I think it has something to do with the language differences.  All conversations are slower, much slower than at home.  I love body workers too they are very conscientious of their touch and in general more gentle.

I am so grateful to Arno today, his knowledge and expertise is so valuable, totally worth the price of admission.

DCIM100GOPRO

Laos Country 2016

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Thai Massage Circus, Laos 2/9/16

The land is beautiful here.  The camp is set between two rivers.  You cannot escape the sound of the rivers.  The water is very soft and buoyant.  I have been washing my clothing in the river in the mornings.  I brought just enough clothes for two days before ending to wash.  It’s an amazing ritual to wash in natural flowing water.  You can see the circle of dirt collect and dirt returned.

After washing I hang the clothes on my bungalow’s window.  Its a very small room made of bamboo and built on a raised platform.  I picked the one closest to the garden.  They grow a lot of food here.  Every day i see the Lao gardener tending to the plants.  He is wearing American clothes and I wonder about his life.  How did he come to be a gardener?

I am very slowly learning Lao, Thai and German.  There are so many different languages here and so much time, its good to practice and hear the language and have it corrected on the spot.

“Ich bin fier und trisand yarra alt” is the phrase I learned tonight.  I’m sure it’s not spelled correctly here.

I should mention the toilets since they made the news today.  They are squatting toilets like India.  Better for shitting, that’s for sure.  We are not to use toilet paper and put it in the toilet, we are to put the toilet paper in the basket.

To flush, there is a garbage in with water and a cup.  Lastly there is a small spray hose for cleaning your butt.  All of this is new to me and very interesting.

The showers look like the one at the hostel but day 1 was ice cod and day 2 was not much improved.

Tonight they had a sauna instead of a bonfire.  It is a homemade sauna, the engineering is pretty amazing.  It looked to me like they built a coal fire under two oil barrels that were filled with water.  The barrels are connected to the sauna room via pipes.  It is very hot and raised my core temperature back up.  Much needed after the last two nights.


Additional notes:

The spray gun had been dubbed a “bum gun” by a fellow circus goer.  After the first two days of trying to shower in icy water I determined it was easier to jump in the river, soap up and jump back in to rinse off.  I did that for the remaining days at the circus.

DCIM100GOPRO

Bamboo hut in Laos

Thai Massage Circus, Lao 2/7/16

Journal:

Still not entirely sure what to expect on this adventure.  The morning enjoyed a homemade omelette at the hostel – its included in the stay.  Then ventured out to find the Mekong river and book on Lao.  Did not find either, got lost and then went into a volunteer organization that directed me to a school “Big Brother Mouse” where they have free english classes.  Spoke with a gentleman “Lam” for a while about the classes.

Then ventured to find food – a delicious chicken sandwich.  Also bought a beautiful Lao handcrafted blanket to help stay warm at night.  Juggled for a bit in the market and drew a crowd.  A lady and gentleman said I could easily teach classes to the local people and make a living that way in Luang Prabang.

Found the bus to camp easily – many people were going.  The ride was about an hour.  At camp I napped – nothing really happened the first night.  Missed a delicious dinner but still ate.  Joined the fire circle and the dog came over and laid in my lap “Khau” like sticky rice but not like “cow” but they sound the same.  I’m now writing by candle-light.  My little bungalow has no running water or electricity.  I absolutely love this! Can’t wait to see what its like when it warms up.

You can hear the rivers from  everywhere on the land.

Additional Notes:

The dogs name is pronounced Cow – oo .  One the last day of the retreat someone pointed out that the dog’s name was actually “White” not sticky rice but the words sound similar.  Sticky rice sounds like cow and white sounds like cow oo.  But when you say sticky rice/cow it’s not flat, you raise up and down during the vowel and cut it short. For white you raise up and extend the oo at the end for a bit longer.

The bus ride was in the back of a pick up with a top on it…they’re called Tuk Tuk’s.  There are different sizes with different names and they go for various rates. The circus had pre arranged Tuk Tuk rides for the days off.

The land is on the way to the Kuang Xi  Waterfall so it is very easy to get a ride to/from the circus and Luang Prabang.  You just go to the main road and wait for a Tuk Tuk and flag them down.  Some of our group took free rides with other tourists.  Some of the circus goers were even brave enough to thumb motor bike rides.  The motor bikes are not taxis in Laos like they are in Thailand.  In Thailand they have special certifications to taxi on the motor bike.

Doha, Qatar 2/4/16

Journal Entry:

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Everyone is so peaceful.  Though the airport is bustling like an ant hill in late fall every person is peacefully making their way to their destination.

So many different cultures and races crossing paths – it’s beauty orchestrated – like the inherent interconnectedness of humanity.

Finding refuge in one of the most elegant spa/gym/pools ever seen – in the middle of the airport, three floors up from the sacred geometric shuffle.

This is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  its elegance is reflected in the marble flooring and vaulted ceilings.  The spa is overwhelmed by a eucalyptus mist.  Cleverly placed LED lights provide the illusion of being at a seaside resort.

You may even surf the internet from the treadmill.  Unfortunately its the only screen on the premise entirely in Arabic.

The one gesture universal and true is the smile.  Even those visibly bored will echo a ruffled smile back.

It’s quite delightful to walk the length of the airport with luggage locked away.

Two pages into a New York Times Bestseller novel and I’m interrupted by a native Pakistan man who is traveling from his life-long home in Denmark to see is family of origin for the first time.  Age 35.  his plea is for company after not having spoken to a soul for over 8 hours.  He offers a drink and I counter suggest dinner.  We head to the food court and order from the most Arabic looking menu.

His english is a little broken but very easy to understand.  We laugh and share stories.  I’m touched to hear again that we all desire the same things – to be happy, to have a good relationship and to have a job that is descent.

I am fascinated by the artwork on the different nation’s dollar bills.  It seems so far all other countries have more colorful money and the images tell a story – one I’m not familiar with.  Not all nations have a face on the bills.  Some are buildings or flowers.  All of them have words and all of them have numbers.  It is easy to translate knowing math but the value is taking longer to decipher.

The elevator music in Doha sounds like soft Beats Antique which in itself is funny to say because this part of the world birthed the rhythms that inspired Beats Antique.

Juggling is still revered by all as a mysterious and complicated art.