Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pretending I Live Here

I celebrated the end of my first week in Nakhon Phanom by living in it--no sightseeing, no picturetaking, just moving through a day as I would if I were lucky enough to be a resident.

It would be so restful, because everything can be achieved by walking. Going to get coffee, buying a battery charger for my new battery, the one that went on strike after two days and 157 snapshots, buying garlands of jasmine and marigolds at the market, taking them to the gigantic bodhi tree in thanks for letting me snap it several times, buying a paper, reading it at a bright and comfortable little cafe, eating khao mun gai, buying a few things at the local supermarket which has aisles like deep, dark canyons, and all on foot.

It's a great day for walking here because there's a slight windchill, enough to tangle my hair and almost blow away my shawl. It clattered the dry leaves of the tree that I gave thanks to, loud enough that I wondered what a real storm would sound like under its branches. It blew away the smoke of the past few days and made Laos' mountains visible again.

There's more to do, I know there is. Perhaps I might pay a visit to the brother of people I know in Seattle, who lives in an abandoned hotel overlooking the river. Or I could see if I can persuade a tuktuk (Skylabs here) driver to take me to Ho Chi Minh's house and then bring me back--no success with that yet. Or I could sit in my bright little room and watch my battery charger--it flashes in different colors like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind--blueredgreen in staccato bursts. As I watch, I can be grateful that I live, although temporarily, in a town with no need for a Skytrain.

Today is Wednesday and I just paid enough to ensure that I will be here for four more days. My friend Beau told me long before I came that if I ever visited her town, I wasn't going to want to leave. She was right; I feel as though for the first time in my life, I'm living in Thailand. Last night I walked through the lovely temple grounds that are near my hotel and was stopped still by the sound of monks, praying. If I were ever to come back to live in this country, this is how I would want to live my life.

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