I have been very hesitant to update my blog. I am in Cambodia right now, which means I haven’t written a word about the ride between here and Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand. What has happened since then? 5 days to Bangkok- a rush South to meet my friend Adam through intense heat- a stop in the old capital of Ayutthaya, which boasts an impressive array of 14th century ruins from the Kingdom of Siam, an insane ride into Bangkok through bad traffic, too-close encounters with prostitutes and street vendors, 5 days on a tropical island, a few more crazy days in Bangkok, and a mad, sweltering escape.
I feel sometimes- often times- that I am losing my damned mind out here. I am enjoying Siem Reap immensely and I haven’t even seen Angkor Wat yet!
Too much is happening a lot of the time, interspersed with bouts of isolation and quiet that are quite at odds with the sensory overload of the cities. I am finding myself very, very fatigued. Of course, at this point I have felt this way a dozen times, but even the familiarity of it only serves to enervate me further. I am actually looking forward to working again in Australia, keenly.
Everything is insane! There is really no way to encompass the range and nature of this kind of lifestyle, some days I have no sense of who I am or what I am doing. I have spent the last three days in a listless blur of extremes, ranging through the activities of idleness and exploration, drinking, dancing, smoking, writing, eating. I have been indulging myself in familiar cuisines and revelling in the fact that I only pay 3 dollars a night to stay in an interesting place. Taking another vacation, in a sense, but it feels more like a respite from the exertion, mental and physical, of my lifestyle.
I’m just feeling beat down. One day- often within the hours of the same day- I will feel tired and listless, sweating and watching stand-up comedy on youtube, and then in the evening or the next day I might manage acquaint myself with some strangers, dance with some girls and stay out until the early morning, or spend a few hours talking to a Cambodian man or wander about an unfamiliar city, aimless. Or perhaps I will spend most of the day working on short stories and totally ignoring the blog, which is WELL behind right now, but this is being rectified (sort of), here and now.
I love where I am at, but I lust after Australia. The weather is certainly taking its toll and contributing to my ennui. I realized I went from extreme heat in Central Asia to extreme cold in Tajikistan through most of China, and then, after two weeks of fairly comfortable weather, I find myself once again back to extreme heat. The rainy season is just about here though, which certainly sounds like a mixed bag.
My experiences have just been too random. The things I have seen in the last two weeks alone, it is all insane! My brain is squirming.
Incredible drag shows, prostitutes and “masseuses” physically detaining me, I have to push past little Cambodian women trying to sell me 2 dollar massages or swat away the grabbing hands of very bold ladies of the night, every tuk-tuk driver hassling me for a ride and, when I decline, asking me if I want hash, mushrooms, opium, whatever I want.
Talking to women and hearing their stories, contemplating how different it is (and far safer, easier) to travel as a man, having the Cambodian next to you remark casually that the women at the other table can be bought for 50 dollars. Beggars, vendors, temples, food carts. Even the side of the road I ride on shifts.
Effervescent body paint, free shots, beer pong with middle-aged men and their Cambodian wives, shitty dance music, being taught how to dance by Latin women (ooooweeee!) random encounters, getting locked out of my hostel, swimming at midnight, sleeping in empty bunks at other hostels, snorkeling in the ocean among living coral in blue and green, shimmering creatures and evil, black sea urchins, all beneath the glaring sun.
The Water Festival, also known as New Years here, water cannons, super soakers, the streets full, music blaring, baby powder, drinks, dancing, puddles and joy.
I stayed with an eccentric Thai woman about my mother’s age for two days, at her insistence, which was incredible. Spoke to a woman who owned a coffee shop who travelled all around the world writing for a women’s magazine, who told me stories about visiting China 40 years ago. Learning the history of this part of the world and realizing how isolated we are from it, how fundamentally shaped these lands are by customs and tales of old, civilizations we are entirely ignorant of. The basic level of homeopathic knowledge in Thailand far exceeds that of the Western world.
What is out here?
All sorts of stuff I had no concept of. My grasp on the nature of humans and of life on Earth is slipping, things that pretend to the mundane become subtle, and the subtle becomes all important.
I just can’t fucking believe it. Trying to process it all is like trying to take a bite out of a basketball: impossible.
Even if I return, there is no coming back, you know? The immensity of it reveals itself from time to time, and in the meantime I am just spinning! I guess life has always seemed thus to me, but the rate has greatly accelerated, and when I attempt to descry the future, it now seems an alien thing, far less predictable and far fuller of potentials, for better and worse, than its portents have ever before suggested; the nature of my personal future is worlds apart from the way it appeared a year ago.
It’s incredible! Absolutely bonkers.
…I had to get that out of my system. This is really all I can manage at the moment. There are stories, there are more pictures, but I am not sane enough to organize them.
In other news, the clouds have been very peculiar of late, like blooming corals in the sky.