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Published: December 27th 2007
12/24/07: What I wrote prior to leaving:
I will begin this journey in Bangkok, Thailand, leaving the States on January 9th, 2008. This is my first time doing India and Thailand in the same journey, but that is the way things pulled together in the process of following the Universe's guidance. I knew I would be doing something with elephants, so was sure I wanted to go to Thailand again. I will spend just a few days in Bangkok: getting over my jet lag, and checking out some of the traditional sites. Then, I will fly to India to continue my journey there, before flying back to Thailand to spend time with elephants healing from a traumatic past in Northern Thailand.
Some Journal Entries:
January 9, 2008: I begin this journey. I am currently in the San Francisco airport after flying from Eugene this early morning. From here, it will be off to Thailand, with a quick stop at the Narita Airport. To try to describe how I am feeling is difficult to express as it seem that this journey has been a long time coming. For some reason, it does feel like the most important thing I can be
doing in my life right now, yet to say I have it all figured out would not be accurate. I am going into the Mystery of this calling, and allowing whatever to unfold, unfold. While I have certain destinations mapped out in India and Thailand, and plans to connect with different wildlife organizations, I cannot predict what Mother India will have to show me.
I anticipate I will be challenged on many levels, as I try to navigate around both of these countries. The Universe has a sense of humor and is always looking for ways to remind us that we are not in control when we begin to get the illusion we are. Or, Grace has a way of showing us what we should do when we get off course, or just plain confused. For example, the taxi to the airport came to pick me up at 4:45 this morning, as I was doing my last minute flurry of activity to get ready. The final thing I remembered was that I forgot to copy my passport and credit cards before leaving, just in case they got lost of stolen. I am told it makes it easier to get
these things replaced, or to know the number to call if I needed to cancel one of my cards. Well, I just about walked out of the house without the original documents after nearly leaving them in our copy machine at home. Ooops! That would have certainly been an interesting way this journey would of started. Likely I would have missed my flight, and would not be sitting in the airport right now typing this. But, I did remember as I was heading out the door, and returned with a smile at what a close call that was.
Another funny thing happened in the airport bathroom. An older Asian man with a peculiar smile walked into the women’s bathroom. Despite some other women trying coach him out of the bathroom who likely spoke his language, it was suddenly up to me to kindly redirect him out of the bathroom. Again, it seems like a little cosmic sense of humor to remind me of the strange, random incidences that can happen that you are not expecting. So, I am here. And now, we will see what happens next.
Saturday, January 12th: Arrived yesterday at 1:30 a.m. at the Asha
Guest House in Bangkok. The flight was a very long 17 hours, plus the addition of all the airport wait times. Despite feeling sleep deprived, I felt pretty good considering. The plane ride was different from any of my others in that it was quite social, and many conversations and some new friendships were formed. There was also more turbulents than any other flight, including (I have been told) a 200-foot drop in air pressure. It felt like quite a bump, but I didn’t think it was that much of a drop. A poor flight attendant came close to hitting her head on top of the airplane though.
After arriving and catching up some needed rest, which amounted to only two hours, because of jet lag, I was ready to start this day with taking the Sky Train to some of the popular sites, and using boat transport for my other main means of transport. I was planning on doing it alone, as I thought it would be a good warm up for my upcoming time in India. But one of my new friends I met on the plane was now staying at the Asha Guest House, so we
Tons of Food
Thais love to Eat... lots of food stands, and often very unsual selections for those who like dried fish and meat of all types! They look like their having fun though!
decided to do the city touring together.
So, by the end of touring Bangkok for seven hours, I share the following thoughts and advice: Take the Sky Train whenever you can! Even though it gets crowded at least you can breathe and not contribute to the traffic pollution that leaves a hazy appearance over the city: Know how to use your camera before you leave home! (I am still learning and fumbling around): Traveling alone is different than traveling with even someone you do not know very well, as it both adds and limits spontaneous action, changes what you may or may not be doing, influences the free flow of interactions you may have with locals and other travelers, and where you may end up going: The experience of beautiful monuments, sharing a meal, and finding your way when you are lost can be more enjoyable when you are traveling with someone; and finally taking a TukTuk (motorized rickshaw) in a busy city such as Bangkok can be physically taxing and not very enjoyable. We finally had to cut our losses, pay the driver to reclaim our independence, and just start walking! We just could not endure breathing the
exhaust and sitting in traffic another minute (Oh, for a breath of clean Oregon air!). Even though we no longer knew where we were, and had to walk a long distance back to the next boat dock, it was still worth it. I will remember it as the “the TukTuk ride from hell.” TukTuks in smaller cities, such as Chiang Mai are much more enjoyable, as we certainly rode them frequently during our family trip to Thailand a few years back.
Again, the Sky Train in Bangkok is the way to go. When we got back to the Asha Guest House, I had just enough energy to drink some water, send off an email, and go to bed. Travel sickness lasted with me until early in the morning, and I decided it was well time for me to get some rest and prepare myself for my solo time in India (which I begin later today). When I return to Bangkok before heading up to Chiang Mai, I would like to check out the Lumpini Park where locals come to work out every evening, and possibly the Bangkok Safari to see
It looks cute and harmless now, and generally lots of fun when not having to battle with the big vehicles and traffic congestion.
some animals there, including maybe hugging a baby Orangutan (which costs 80 Thai Bhat). Oh, another interesting issue I need to deal with as soon as possible is that King Fisher Airlines changed some of my most important flight times, so it will now impact what I have been scheduled for, and when I can connect with the organizations I am planning.
The Universe’s plans always win out in the end, despite how much precise travel preparation we may do. It is the cosmic joke: We can swim in the ocean of creation, but still we are part of the creation. We are part of the whole play and are just along for the ride of our lives. So hold on, and may the journey continue!
Also please visit my website @ www.animaldreamers.org
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