Thursday, December 25

Day 119-Ayuthaya


In order to arrive at here, the World Heritage City of Siam, I have spent some part of each of the last three days on the train. This is the ancient capital of the emerging Thai nation, 700 years ago it was a vast complex of Khmer style temples, courtyards and palaces. The journey of 1700 kilometers began inauspiciously, with the breakdown of the arriving engine while still in Malaysia. We were ferried into Thailand by minibus, in time to intersect with the northbound train, though many opted to complete the journey by bus, a quicker but awake-all-night option. I prefer to stick with the plan, and enjoyed greatly the slow ride through the night.

Arising early, I was greeted by the tropical landscape of the Isthmus of Kra, a lowland of palm trees and rice paddies, sparsely populated but rich with bird life. Huge flocks of black faced ibis wheeled and collided above the fields in various stages of flooding, where many avocet, herons and egrets were searching for their breakfast. Though I stopped over in Bangkok, embarking again in the morning saw a continuation of the wetlands, vast marshes of cattail and rush, the palms now given way to scraggly deciduous bushes, looking forlorn and gray for their seasonal loss of leaves.

Forlorn is perhaps just my own projection, for last night, Christmas Eve, was for me the most difficult of this trip. As mentioned in the previous post, I have been succombing to a treacherous foe of this single traveler-jealosy. As I spy other travelers, I am quick to compare and compete, sizing them up in my mind, finding faults and at times seething in envy that I do not have some young devoted chick tagging along as so many of them do. I don't expect anyone to understand this, I barely do myself, and I am left to find solace in the words of the Tao de Ching, an appropriate study as I make my way north to China. It instructs that I am not merely a separate part of the world I am viewing, in conflict and contention, rather that every living being is just another face, another expression, of the great Unknown, the Tao. Contemplating this, I can release that persistent nagging self-awareness, and can instead pass the day gliding with the ibis over the green fields, complete in simplicity and abundance.

2 comments:

Purl Interrupted said...

Hey there Mister

Just thought I would drop in and say keep on writing. There are people out here reading.

Also Michael and I finished our trip short for various reasons, so I am going to read away and envy you as you go.

Happy New Year and all that jazz.

L :)
(Purl Interrupted from Varanasi)

David said...

ken-mon,

dave-mon rosenberg here. with my bro marc-mon visiting in miami for the holidays. very, very impressive project/program/life experience you are creating/building/experiencing/partcipating-in and all other verb type things which could never describe what it is you are doing on this big blue marble. my wife tuyen and i just got back from cambodia and vietnam. you know my wife is vietnamese (oh, and we are having a baby in march). anyway, i have very good knowlege of those places from multiple trips + family so i can help you out. also, if/when you go to siem reap to seek ankor wat and other temples, i have a cambodian guide who would make your time very rich with interest of the place (and how to avoid tourists). anyway, be safe and be well. enjoy enjoy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Much love from the bros rosenberg...yee haw!