Traveling can be so thick and fast. Sometimes all you want to do is see, sometimes rest. You become so full of experiences that you almost burst pop splat. I wish there was a small white cube in which to stop, digest and reflect between countries. A clear space to sit and think. A space without visuals, without sound, without anything. A bland little box in which to make the transition from last to next. A time of zero experience and zero sensation, apart from still. A little white cube in which you can go inwards to take it all in. To learn from the constant slog – to take the best from the experience and listen to the knowledge. A little white cube in which to understand what you have been through. A place of your very own just to sit, digest and recharge before the next explosion of sensation. One day left in Burma and the little white cube will be another aeroplane. Not white, not square and not empty. Up and down, high and flat. Exhausted in so many ways. Time to find sand and waves and do nothing for a while. A space in which to stop.
After getting drunk yesterday i paid for it today. Vomiting my spicy noodle soup mixed with pseudo Fanta five minutes after breakfast. Noodles still hanging from my throat whilst others were leaving. What a waste of a dollar. Walking through beautiful countryside, through fields along the river bank, towards the hot springs amongst the hills. Women bathing in the water, washing clothes, foraging for food. Young monks playing in the fields looked totally care free, chasing each other in their burgundy robes amongst fields of plowed brown’s and a multitude of greens. Beautiful to observe, especially from a pool of hot water lying on my back. Dragonfly’s landing all around, smoking cigarettes and just floating. Several hours passed and the sun began to head to its next destination.Walking back to the guest house we hitched a ride on the back of a tractor filled with straw. We drove through and old muslim grave yard, passed burning bodies in the open air. A plate of hot spicy veg finished off my day. Sleep. Minus the hangover a beautiful day – calm and warm.
An early rise and a walk into the cold misty morning light. Armed with camera and the intentions to shoot the sun rise. I stop for a coffee where my host seems compelled to share his thoughts. He explained that people from the town are scared to go into the jungle. Many are captured by the military and ordered to pay large sums of money. Girls are taken hostage and their families asked to pay, in a way of profiting the government. He told me that six people this week have already been slaughtered. He said local people who used to work in silver and gold mines now have been replaced by machines. The metal is then sold to china – further money for the Burmese Government. He said the state was being raped of resources and that he was concerned for the people. What will the locals be left with? I wonder if tourism will take over like it has in so many Asian countries.
I spend the rest of the day wandering around temples hoping the facts aren’t true. In reality they probably are. Fact. So far away from myself. The taste the sound the comfort is gone. Susceptible but unaccustomed. No Kylie, no jalapeno no oregano and no thin soft my pillow. No phone, no family but beautiful worthwhile interactions that mean so much. Heading towards December i question so much. Empty in some ways but overflowing in others. To understand the difference is one of my biggest achievements, but it may take a little more time. Time is making me stronger, harder and more honest. Confident to say what i feel. Becoming less passive as my limbs are no longer full of green fuzz. My eyes are the most open they have been in a decade. And also maybe my heart.
Awake from a far to early slumber in a town that sleeps at sunset. A town where activity peaks in the late night barks and the monotonous clock tower chimes. Even strings of lights fizzle out at eight, inside empty. What to do? Pop a pill, avoid running dogs or try to sleep until the urge has subsided. Just sit, write and wait the long dark hours to wonder again at sunrise. Inhale the dark petrol streams of trucks and pretend it’s something more relaxing. Time to leave i think. Time to move on and have the new amuse me. A hard hour until the pill kicks in. A hard hour – all asleep but the dogs the trucks the clock. I may count the chimes until another day the same. Time to leave, the new calls my name.
Warm tofu pre sunrise progressed to an invite to a temple and a vegetarian feast. The monastery floor was full of beautiful Burmese ladies with old-fashioned hair, well dressed sitting with their feet behind them, away from the giant brass Buddha on the altar. Buddha was joined by thirty plus monks, young and old, clad in the flowing bald finery. Heads freshly shaved like mine.
Sitting at the back i listened, meditated and joined the chants when i could. The deepest i have sunk into my body in seven years with the aid of breath and the energy in the room. The monks chanted and spoke for an hour. When the congregation joined in the sound became more melodic and harmonious. As it climaxed it reminded me of a collection of cats, meowing one almighty meow, facing buddha louder and louder. Then the feast ,which was accompanied by hundreds of smiles. An unexpected morning of love, the only downside being me throwing up the whole meal twenty minutes later. I think i have Burma belly, if such a thing exists. This however did not dampen my spirits.
After being invited to a wedding and spending some time with the bride and groom i finally left Hsipaw. Fourteen hours on a bus, red and pink lights flashing. Left hand side at the back. The brightest red lamps every three rows shining flickering. Window down. Dust cool penetrating wind blowing my vest close to my nipples, exposing them occasionally. My scalp cheeks brow feeling the airs force from the gusts and the absence of hair. Another fourteen hours of black night Burma landscape and memories that will stay forever. A red glow inside but a black glow out. Under a soft woolen blanket, music pumping from the speakers with my love by my side. Can it get any better than this?
Thank god the browser has opened! My head is about to explode, in words instead of a Polaroid image. Stress of the final few days makes me a little edgy as i don’t take well to being told what to do, especially after a heady afternoon in the pub and a little too much to drink. Time continues running away and the stress of change is imminent; goodbyes are sad.
My removal from this came via a walk into the fields, on a nostalgic hill looking down at the river, and the cows and the sunset. Listening to Kylie and smoking a one skinner. The space and the sounds and the pair of cows carefully trotting toward the rest of the heard, hopefully not because i was breaking the quiet and the vibration dynamic, but because they were simply on their way, trotting on, trotting off. The field full of sheep seemed to enjoy my rendition of “All The Lovers”, but i have just had five pints. I said goodbye to the landscape whilst filling my eyes and several other organs with the view; perhaps for the final time, this time.
Over the day’s i have been staying at my parents house i have become so much more involved with the sky. It’s absorbing me whether its blue and white, or grey and wet ( Or a combination of it all ). It’s so much more visible here and i am getting so much space from space. Lines of cable or peaks of buildings, or clouds and blue. I have began to look up and look closer to this infinitive mass and getting rather lost in it. Like i feel more attached and closer to being apart of it, in an airplane or the ether. The regions of space beyond the earth’s atmosphere; the heavens.
Heading towards spirituality as an individual would have great personal benefits, but being part of “The Ideal” makes it sooo much harder. How can one have a journey toward god and enlightenment whilst having a relationship with someone else, on earth? I never have been very good at multi-tasking!