Readers' Submissions

Greener Grass

  • Written by Hoboken
  • July 10th, 2014
  • 3 min read



The grass really is greener in the tropics. And I fully intend to flip-flop, to turn 180 degrees from my last submission. That's my right, just like it's the right of anyone to read or not the website stickmanbangkok.com or my own reader submissions. To hell with consistency.

But the grass really is greener in the tropics. Sure, in Southern California we have green grass but they drain the Colorado River to keep it green, because without that water imported across state lines this place would be a desert. In Thailand, most particularly in the south and during rainy season, it's lush green grass and foliage far as the eye can see and rivers rarely ever dry up entirely.

But Seattle sits in a puddle too. The Olympic National Forest is what they call a temperate rain forest. Ample rainfall yearly, and green grass along with grey skies that never dry the land up. So I suppose I shouldn't have to fly 12 hours to see green grass really. That's no excuse. I just fall for the trap and my mind always thinks life will be better someplace else.

'It's just a damn metaphor you dolt,' I have to remind myself. Don't read into it.

One of my favorite TV shows of all time, Survivorman, had a fellow cast off to all corners of the globe, alone, and with few supplies to survive by his own wilderness skills. He filmed the proceedings himself, without a production crew. He did take a satellite phone, and evacuated once, (from a snowy climate).

In all the episodes that took place in the tropics however he did pretty well. Well relative to his adventures Canada's Boreal Forest or the North of Alaska.

He had trouble in the tropics of course and his experiences were not always comfortable. He suffered sand fleas, mosquitos, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. But you will freeze to death much faster than you will die of dehydration. Anyone with any knowledge of wilderness survival will tell you fire takes precedence to water, at least in a cold climate. The only threat that can kill faster than hypothermia is asphyxiation or a cut to the corotid or femoral artery. That or predatory attack.

'People always ask me,' he said in voice over during an episode that marooned him on an island far into the Pacific, 'whether it's easier to survive in the tropics or in the North.' The former, he said, resolute, himself a Canadian with years of experience traipsing about in snow shoes.

More things just grow in the tropics. The population of the globe settled in between Cancer and Capricorn, more or less 2600 kilometers North and South consecutively of the equator, has often gotten accused of laissez faire, relaxed attitudes to a fault. Perhaps because growing seasons last a long time and at one time or another at least something can take root in the soil without threat of a freeze. Less effort necessary, why try?

Abundance begets laziness, allegedly. The Protestant work ethic of cold Europe vs. the Mediterranean siestas of the holy Roman Empire. Beijingers look down upon Cantonese as crass and unrefined. Even in Vietnam the reserved citizens of comparatively chilly Hanoi allegedly frown upon their boisterous comrades from Saigon. And so it continues.

The grass is greener in the tropics and the girls are prettier too, with their exotic dark skin. Even though I've yet to see Ho Chi Minh city, I'll get there one day. I wrote some poetry today, more like a rap really. I'll include it. Some of it doesn't entirely make sense even to me, but it sounds cool when I recite it and hey, I figured I'd contribute something:

Stuck in Farang-land,
Without an escape plan,
damn,
shoulda' ran when I had the chance,
Why?
Because the tropics got the greener grass,
Ho-chi-minh sin sot city with itty bitty cans.