Stickman Readers' Submissions February 6th, 2004

It’s All About Staying In The Middle

It Is All About Staying In The Middle

Ten years ago I did the backpacker thing in Chang Mai – you know the 5 day trek where you do a couple of days on elephants back, some white water rafting, and also do some trekking, stopping off at the Karen, Ahnu and other villages.

He Clinic Bangkok

This was great fun and some of my fondest memories were made during and after the trek on the borders of Chang Mai & Chiang Rai.

Our trekking guide was a really cool Thai guy who had even invited us to go and stay at his mum’s house for a few days before coming out on the trek. She was a sweet old Thai woman who seemed thrilled that we came to stay.

One of the high points of the trek was when we discovered that the tree that was shading the toilet area by the noodle shop on the river was in fact a dope tree, yes! Not dope plant, but dope tree! I was obviously at least 5 years old and had a trunk as thick as a beer jockey on it, so we filled our pockets and enjoyed the last day of our trek. (Sadly the next week when we returned the tree was gone. The locals had burnt it down, as they were afraid the police might charge them for having it – THEY SAY THEY DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS DOPE!)

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After our trek we asked our guide `well, what else is there to do in Chiang Rai besides trekking?' `Nothing' he said, `but if you want to stay on my brothers lychee farm for a few days and help out with the work he will give you free food and your own bungalow. It sounded like fun to us so we agreed to go.

As it turned we stayed for two weeks but never once did any work on the farm. He said there was nothing to do until the fruit grew some more and we didn't argue with him. Our nights and sometimes days were spent in the `big' bungalow which was Toi's. Toi was a Buddhist monk. He had just arrived back from spending three months solid in the local temple. During the nights in his bungalow he would tell us about the ways of Buddhism and how to meditate….. While at the same time smoking copious amounts of bongs (he also showed us how to make the perfect bamboo bong.) One time his friend dropped by who had just come back from the golden triangle with a backpack full of dope and he also had some opium. He showed us how you cut strands off a pumpkin and rolled it into a ball, and then you dry the pumpkin balls before dropping them into hot opium and then line them up next to the dope bowl. You then pack your bamboo bong with dope and top it off with a pumpkin ball on top! = great experience.

The nights in the bungalow consisted of conversations about Buddhist philosophy, ways of meditation, and generally about the spiritual side and how to make the most of it.

I know what you’re thinking! How in hell could you possibly have any kind of enlightenment when you are smoking dope and opium! – I also put this to Toi, and he said `I am not a good man, and I am not a bad man. I am in the middle ' – (I personally found it a great way to learn, but we were high in the mountains with just us and the moon.)

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He tells me that when his lungs tell him he is smoking too much he stops. Or when he is meditating and he can feel an area that has some pain in his back – he attends to it, or rests it.

Those of you who know anything about Buddhist philosophy would know that this is the core of it. – Anything is ok, but only in moderation – if you get signals to stop, then you stop.

The same would apply to bargirls. They know that what they are doing is wrong but feel if they don’t get sucked in too deep then its ok, when they get the sign to stop they stop or take a break (or should).

`They are not good girls, and they are not bad girls. They are in the middle'

Stickman says:

It is interesting applying this philosophy to the bargirls. I can’t think of any who have realised that they were getting in too deep and decided to get out, voluntarily.

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