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Published: February 3rd 2006
This is one part of Laos, a little island, you visit on a Golden Triangle tour. Don't really recommend the tour though, not too exciting.
3 farang walk into a Starbucks, an American, a Brit, and a German… Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s actually a scene I witnessed this morning that made me realize that it is time to leave Thailand. I am not really sure of the nationality of these men, but I was sitting on a bus heading to the Golden Triangle when I witnessed three Western men walk into Starbucks pulling roller laptop bags. They ordered their coffee, sat down, opened their laptops and started working (the traffic light was that long!). It seriously gave me chills. I could almost see co-workers faces through the window…this could have been any of the hundreds of Starbucks in Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, LA, Phoenix...all those place where I used to do the same thing. I don’t know why it had such an effect on me, but it was like some type of flashback. I know I haven’t been gone that long, but it was still like seeing something from another time. Maybe I sound dramatic…but it really made me anxious, or nervous, or…I don’t know. I just know it’s time to get somewhere that I don’t have to see Starbucks or 7-11s or McDonalds anymore…plenty of time for that when I get home.
Sometimes I feel like these trips I take mirror my life at home…it’s true that no matter where you go, there you are. I love the planning part, I love getting off the plane and not knowing where I am or where to go, I love learning about the country, the culture, the people…but once I get comfortable, once I know my way around and how to say hello, please, and thank you…what utensils to use for what…how to order the food I like…the conversion rate…once there is nothing unfamiliar about it...I get bored…I need to move on. A girl once told me when things were ending that I am a man of the moment and that our moment had passed. Maybe she was right. Maybe my moment in Thailand has passed for now. I am off to Laos tomorrow…and I am going to see if I can’t break this cycle. I am going to cut off communication with the outside world for a while. No more e-mails, blogs, etc. No more organized tours or going out to bars to meet other Westerners. I am going to the “last quiet country on Earth” and I am going to do something a lot of us, especially myself, have trouble doing…I am going to be quiet. Let’s see what that does for me…let’s see if I can be comfortably comfortable for more than a moment.
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