It was early in the afternoon when I finished the zip lining and my adrenaline rush was calming down. The bus rolled along the winding mountain roads of North Chiang Mai and dropped me in front of the lodge nestled in lush green trees of the tropic. Not a soul around. I slung my back pack from the shoulder and slowly walked inside the lodge. Soon I crossed the gate; I found the office room of the lodge. A lady was busy working on her paperwork.
“Sawasdee Krab”, I said mildly.
She looked up and returned my gesture “Sawasdee Kaa”.
I love the way Thai ladies end their sentence with “kaa”….a melody dripping from the sky.
My friends Alex and Oppy who operate a travel service in Chiang Mai, fixed me up the lodge.
“You will love it, Tab,” Alex was convinced.
“Ok, if you say so…what happens if I don’t,” I pushed back.
“Money back,” Alex was serious.
And boy oh boy, was he right! Acres of spread land with cottages obscured from the office by the lush green trees and the flower was a tranquil sight that demands attention. A small
river flows through the lodge like a dancing angel destined to a faraway place. A couple from Sweden was playing in the water with their two year old daughter. They were staying there for a week, just chilling out. I crossed the river and walked slowly along the unpaved road amid the flower trees to find my cottage. Few chicken crossed the road in front of me. Sun was leaning to the West ushering the wintry evening. I threw my backpack in my cottage and came out. I walked around and sat down on a bench near my cottage. Yes, ideal place for soul searching. There are times when one needs to be alone, to face the inner self, to reminisce the past, to unwind the restless mind….no rage, no jealousy, no bitterness…a total peacefulness with divine feeling…just watch the sun goes down behind the hills and the evening slowly embraces the serene, pristine lodge with her soft kisses.
I walked to the end of the lodge. Broken stairs went up the hill and disappeared in the bush and the trees. I was tempted to walk up and climb the stairs. Evening was crawling in and the light was
fading fast. I didn’t take chance without knowing what lies ahead. I came back.
The evening was even more absorbing. It was a clear sky but a light blanket of mist was in the air. It was lovely to sit by the small river and listen to the poems it has to tell. I walked further in the dark….only to be hugged by the sound of silence around me. I looked up the sky….millions of stars…I could spot the Orion’s belt… Sirius and Vega and the trace of Milky Way.
The dawn came with the sounds of birds and roosters. The mist mingled with the dust on the unpaved road and the smell of wet dust mixed with the scent of the flowers filled the early morning air. I breathed hard to fill my lungs. The sunray was drawing collage inside the semi darkness of the trees by the river side. I relished watching the Nature painting collage in the morning sun and slowly absorbed the picture in my brain. God knows how long I was in the trance; suddenly the tranquility was broken when I heard Alex calling “Hello” from a distance.
“So, tell me, did
you like the place or not?” Alex demanded.
I nodded and said, “How the hell you read my mind, you bugger?”
Alex was laughing and he said, “I know the nutcase when I meet. Let’s go for coffee. Oppy is inside”.
Few years have passed since then. Not a single month has passed that I didn’t dream about Tharn Thong Lodge. It was love at the first sight and it will stay like that. It brings peace in my mind when I am tense for some reasons. I wrote in Orient X’plorer’s website “Watching a sunny golden day melting on the surrounding hills, a river telling its hundred tales as it flows away, a starry night with shooting stars reminding me that “life is not a dress rehearsal, this is it”, and a misty morning with its sound of silence…I’ll never forget.”
And I didn’t! I’ll be back.
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