I have been here for almost a month now, and I have to say that time is behaving differently. On the one hand, a month is a fairly long time to be away from home, family and friends. On the other hand, the days pass in a much more leisurely way here. We could learn a lot about work/life balance from the Thai and Burmese people. I am speaking for myself of course, but I think most people would agree that there is nowhere near the amount of pressure to achieve more, to go faster, to have more, to be more, to make more money (for someone else) as we endure in the UK.
No doubt the sunshine accounts for the amount of smiley faces to a certain extent. Like most people I check out what my friends are doing on Facebook, and the references to cold, dark and miserable days are already beginning. As are comments on Hallowe’en (not a thing here, unsurprisingly) Bonfire Night and Christmas. Sitting in the sunshine with a cold beer, papaya salad and good conversation all of those things seem a million miles from my experience at the moment.
The picture is from a rather strange arrangement of temples here in Mae Sot. There is a whole “complex” of shrines and small temples which have been largely abandoned and taken over by people needing somewhere to live. The temples are not neglected, they are just only used occasionally. Its very bizarre, but interesting and extremely colourful. When we visited, the Hindu temple was a riot of colour, smells and sounds. Truly delightful. They were getting ready for a wedding, but we were invited to look round and made to feel welcome. There was no sense that we were “in the way”. Again, I can only contrast this with my lived experiences. Can you genuinely imagine being invited into a wedding venue in England when all the preparations are going on?
I may be starting some Tai Chi classes here if I can work out a routine that can be done in the pool. Not as daft as it sounds actually. At least it would be cool, and it would also ensure that everyone moved really slowly, which of course is what Tai Chi is all about. Control, coordination and concentration.
Til next time folks.