Thailand I often associate with innocence - a gritty dedication to pleasantness, no matter the deeper personal networks this marginalises; out of that, a psyche informed by smiling on principle. This may seem like tyranny, and in a way it is, however if you do something a lot, you tend to do it really well, and also find increasingly innovative ways to do it.
It's both the fullness and fragmented nature of the smile that follows around my perception of Thai people. Smiles deepen and fade, stay constant or flicker, phase out or transform into some other gesture of amiability.
The air is fragrant. I paused in a section of my soi (lane) which was particularly aromatic, wondering if I would see the flowers responsible for this public perfuming service in the morning, when darkness didn't obscure my ability to identify them (limited as that is).
Martin 's addition to my poem a few days ago made me reflect upon how the phrase 'restless heart' informs me. Well, I often feel like I'm bursting with things to say, and limited outlets for their expression. How long can my postmodern rhetoric interest someone before they lose interest? How can I splatter my conceptual paint, from one shade to another tone, over far-flung and differently textured surfaces, before someone starts to close their mind?
I have been following the WikiLeaks releases over the past few months and I'm a bit exhausted... Thailand reminds me of a more innocent time of admiration for the pleasant visuals (today was a tone poem in light green, pastel blue and cotton candy pinkm, as I walked by one fresh-looking shop to a next), where the world offered so many possibilities in the limitation of the economic sector, nevertheless. As I said to my father, Thailand made me realise that I don't need a lot in my life; the buses which transport me around Thailand don't need to be upgraded to be pleasant and effective, to be useful, pragmatic, and a wonder of modern day technology. Thailand is enough - more than enough.
It is true that, in past times, I have also felt small. I felt like I couldn't really catch up to others due to some of the setbacks I have experienced. These days I feel more comfortable with my identity as a traveller, a bridge between cultures, and an exuberant investigator. An animated observer.
Reflecting on my recent journeys, I am learning to do away with the notion of 'irrepairable' and 'devastating' - with the careful application of controlled optimism, you can achieve anything.
Debra has become the model for both awareness and ignorance now, a more balanced role than I had affoded her before; I can relate to her satisfaction with Asian social relations, on both a deep and superficial level. I admire her for changing her world - actively making a home for herself in a new old country (China) frm not very much. To really move, to really transplant yourself into a different culture, takes a lot of hard work and sheer stubbornness, from what I can see. It is my hope to pull off such a project one day, when it is within my financial means.
Until then, I have countries to visit, people to fall in love with, friends to cuddle, and infinite batches of new ideas to nurture.