Friday, September 18, 2009

Just a Taste

It’s difficult to return back to something after it’s been abandoned for some time. As precious as it might have been, as familiar as it once may have appeared—over time, the details begin to blur and all I’m left with is a faint silhouette of what once was. A shadow beyond a doubt.
I suppose in part, this is how I feel when I think about returning to write here. A public domain of personal thoughts has to, or should rather, have a degree of credibility to go along with it. It’s all too easy to provide daily accounts of the mundane and routine, that which all of us in our lives experience, no matter where we are on the globe.
I’ll tell you something: it’s quite exhausting being on the move. It’s actually quite hard to believe I first left the U.S. just a month and a half after graduating- already 15 months ago! As always, my perception of time is distorted and I think I could be reborn a hundred times over (in my Hindu life), or reach my ninth life (as a cat) and still not feel comfortable assessing time. In some ways it feels like ages since I woke up to the contradictory smells of India...gentle jasmine pinned against the much fiercer scent of automobile exhaust. Then again, it feels like just yesterday that I was swinging on my hammock in Bali, catching a breeze and planning lessons for tomorrow’s kindergarten class.
With less than four weeks remaining of my time in Thailand, I haven’t even come close to seeing it all. I have spent the past few weekends in Mae Sot being low-key and relatively unadventurous. I have been keeping an eye out on the community, continuously absolved by each and every dynamic that exists in this small place. I don’t “explore” nearly as often as I feel I should. But I must admit, I feel a deep satisfaction each time I let my curiosity get the better of me.
Before I lose the detail of this place…
I ride my bike around the streets of Mae Sot, each section distinguishing itself from the next. The Muslim district is home to some of the best tea stalls in town-“chai” that is a heavenly mixture of freshly brewed tea, condensed milk, and an unforgiving amount of sugar. The enormous, bustling day market with its noises and smells- it never ceases to amaze me. There’s the unavoidable police check points: a constant identity check and re-check and way to remind those who have fled here illegally to ‘behave.’ Of course, it’s not all exotic. There are the farang, or foreigner hang-outs, where Westerners craving some sterile, air-conditioned, English-speaking, “me and my journal time” can temporarily retreat.
A crowded, dusty town encapsulated by a panoramic, green frontier Mae Sot is. A lovely and complicated place that I hope to one day return to.