Thai Massage Circus 2/11/16

The door fell off my bungalow but, David fixed it.  The morning course was rather difficult with spinal twists and hip movements.  All of the hip work is pretty intense.  When we were working on the QL someone missed and pushed down hard on my floating rib that had been broken several years back – I cried after that and promised a swap back that probably won’t happen but, that’s ok.

Mali worked with me in the afternoon and we were playing around in Gecko pose.  I have not yet worked with the same person twice in massage. There are about 30 people in the class so its possible to work with everyone a couple of times.

All of the meals were delicious again.  The kitchen is a giant bungalow open air.  I have no idea how they make the food so awesome.  There are two refrigerators and they store all our drinking water in barrels under the kitchen.

The locals take the laundry into town two days a week but it takes too long to come back and I didn’t bring enough to use the service so I am still washing in the river.

I have started to read the manual for the circus and its very entertaining so far.

Today the german phrase was : What is for breakfast = Vas kip ist sum fru schtuck. (probably not spelled correctly). OISHI is the Japanese word of the day.

Fire spinning is definitely happening tomorrow.  I worked it out with David and it will be at 7pm.  It is the same day as the sauna and I’m excited to do that again.  David and I talked about the logistics of how to set it up and it will come together quite nicely.

Whatever was bothering me after lunch (broken rib irritation) has passed but the feeling o being on a boat remains.

Chatted at length with Marty tonight.

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Additional notes:

David is the general handy man at the circus.  He is usually walking around through the circus with a hatchet in hand and a bounce in his step.  When I first arrived he was working on the constructing a drain pipe for the sauna.  He is the go to guy for fixing things at the land.  I should note also that he is always wearing the baggy Thai style pants and is allergic to shoes.

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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.

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Laos Country 2016

Bangkok, Thailand 2/5/16

Journal:

4am I woke to a group of japanese children fluttering in and shopping at Suvarnabhumi International airport. I went in search of a city map and a deck of cards.  The cards have beautiful pictures on them-places I might one day like to see. At first I was collecting for my mother but now perhaps I will keep them for myself and get her another set.

The air here smells muggy and dirty – similar to florida but trade the lizard egg smell for burnt rubber. 32 degrees C – I’m told that translates to 80F.

After getting a boarding pass and learning some more Thai phrases from the linguist at the check in desk I ventured to the Bangkok airways long.  I say hello in Thai, they don’t seem to notice – perhaps we are all very tired.  They hand me a wifi passcode and wave me through.

The waiting long is stocked with what looks like an impression of American snack foods – I sample one of everything – twice at least.

Throughout my 12 hour stay I sample each drink and alternate between sleep and reading.

An old couple from Britain tells me of their adventures in Bangkok which inspires a lengthy internet search and map plotting adventure.  That comes to a close with obsessively watching juggling videos and scribing notes on which tricks to drill while in Laos.

Exhaustion supersedes most of the previous spiritual rumination – but there is still a background noise of wonder towards all the people who don’t speak english.  It seems that all our lives are very similar still.  Everyone has a cellphone, there are wifi phone zombies everywhere.  People sleep wherever they cane and smiles are still universal (as well as gestures).

I attempt to feel and intuit those whom I don’t understand but it seems they’re mostly passing the time talking about nothing.  The same that I am doing, texting updates to Sarah via Voxer.  Curious what kind of snacks we will receive on the flight – hopefully not fried scorpions!

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Additional Notes:

I made the mistake of filling my water bottle from the fountain at the airport.  It made me ill for a half a day and the flight was a bit woozy but it wasn’t too bad.  Later I learned that the airport has really really bad water.  That was the only time where I accidentally drank anything other than bottled water.

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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.

Chicago, IL 2/3/16 O’Hare Airport

Written Journal Entry:

The airport is a lawless place of the highest respectability.  Children and the elderly are most noble – juggling and even dropping entertains all for a few seconds as they pass.

International travel is not a small accomplishment.  Each person on this side of the gate has either earned or been given this experience.

Thoughts and ears wander through foreign sounds of conversation – communication.  How do we all communicate?  What things tie us together? Our most simple desires: work that is fulfilling, a creative outlet, a sense of self-confidence, to be loved, to express oneself, to dream and spirituality.

How do we universally convey these messages and meanings?  Through art, dance, gesture, money, numbers.  Some things are the same – the way we count, the ways we can move and the ways we can create visual and audio art.

No need for fancy education to understand one another.  Though common courtesy may not always be common it’s always appreciated.

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Additional Notes

Some things are naturally “known” through communication by all.  Numbers are the same everywhere, even if we don’t say them the same.  Everyone appreciates a decent tip – as I have come to understand tipping in Thailand is not the same as back home.  In the US a standard %20 is customary for all services, from waiters and massage therapists to hair dressers and cab drivers.  In Thailand if they were decent its normal to tip pocket change. Pocket change is in the amounts of 1, 2, 5 or 10 Bhat.  35 Bhat (B35) is equivalent to $1 US.  Doing the math, a regular tip is less than a dollar.  If you really enjoyed the service 10% seemed to bring a smile. 20% made me a new friend who would then open up speaking english and asking all kinds of questions.

Cost for a 60 Minute Thai Massage B200 = $5.71 us with a B20 tip = $.57

A cup of coffee in Thailand from a hostel was about B50 – $1.42 which is about the same for gas station coffee in the US.

Breakfast ranged from B45 – eggs, toast (spread with mustard/mayo), ham slice, coffee and water

to B100 for a cashew/strawberry/raisin/honey crepe

They do “dutch” or “english” style breakfast very well even though the bread is super fluffy and tastes like a sugary cake.

Gratitude is also understood by all, even though we don’t say it the same, it is quite easy to learn.  On the trip I learned how to say Thank you in Thai, Lao, German, Japanese and Philippines. Cop Coon Ca, Cop Jai La Lai, Danke, Arigato and Salamon.

Also “Meow” is understood by people of different nations and languages.  Most usually bringing a questioning look and a smile after.

The asian languages are sing-song like and I’m missing hearing it already.  The emphasis is on inflection and raising or lowering of pitch.  It took some time but a wonderful thai lady was teaching me the difference between beautiful and bad – “Soi” or “Soy”  they sound almost identical but she kept explaining.  I strained my ears to hear the very subtle difference and it was in the facial expression and very slight inflection.  The little bit of Thai I picked up only made me want to learn more.