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

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.

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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.

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.