Do you remember that very first time when you came to Thailand? For me, it seems like it was only yesterday – even though it will soon be 15 years in the past. Truth is that I wish I could have that time all over again – but, you know, there is not much that I would wish to change.
It will soon be 12 months since I was last in Thailand – but I am missing it very badly. Next week I was booked out of here to have Christmas and New Year in Bangkok – but that had to be cancelled due to surgery that had to take priority. I spoke with Suji on the cell-phone in Bangkok yesterday afternoon and she sounded happy that everything is OK – but the recovery period will be a couple of months, at least. Being away from there feels like I imagine how it would feel to be serving a prison sentence away from the people and things that you love so much. Last evening and tonight, I have been playing saved video clips of Bangkok and of Chiang Mai while being overwhelmed with a sea of memories that I wish were so much more than merely memories. It's strange how I had resigned myself to not going back there again – but there seems to be nothing I can do to quench the thirst to be back in that magic once more.
I played two videos taken by Phrakanong – "Bangkok, City Of Life" – part I and II – and it was almost like being there, almost as good as it gets. Smiling, friendly faces of street vendors and ladies passing by who give a wave and a smile as they go, the rumble of the Skytrain overhead and the traffic just off the side of the pavement where people walk. What I love is the busy pace of it all – the smells, the sounds and the movement of people going about their daily business. I love the unpredictability of it all – never knowing when you may have to dodge out of the way of a motorcycle coming down the pavement toward you – the unexpected just around the corner. It gives me a high that is hard to equal anything I have experienced anywhere else.
The more that I watch of these video clips – particularly those by Phrakanong – I am feeling that something very important is now missing in my life. For almost 15 years, Thailand has played a major part in everything that I do – even when I am in Australia – and now, with the prospect of possibly not being able to go back to the place I love so dearly, I can feel a sense of desperation entering into what is left of my life. I honestly do not know what to do because Bangkok really does feel like the place where I have always belonged – I love it so much. Politics change and Governments come and go – but the essence of what I love never really changes when I am in Bangkok. The people in the street are still the same, with those same smiles and a willingness to be friendly – and I know some who say that is not what they see now in the evolving face of Thailand – but I still believe things are basically the same as I remember them.
My son Paul called in this morning to pick up a couple of flash drives I had loaded up with all of my subs to Stick – now re-edited and saved as PDF files – and I included a bunch of Bangkok video clips on the flash drives as well. He didn't stay that long as he had a few things to do later in the morning – but I slipped a bottle of Jack Daniels under his wing, on his way out. How I wish he could have experienced all that I have known and loved in Thailand – and I wished also that we could have, at least once, shared some time together over there. Maybe, after reading that stuff and viewing those video clips, he may find a need to go over there on his own to check it out. I do hope that happens.
Many of the writers on Stick's Readers' Submissions do not see Thailand in the way that I see it – oh, yes, there are a few with similar feelings as mine – but the majority of contributors see Thailand as a challenge and a place full of latent danger or traps for the unwary. I have never found it to be like that – perhaps it's because I think like a Thai and just accept them for who they are – mostly, just normal people trying to do the best they can with what they have. At the moment I am feeling quite guilty over feelings of anger I expressed at the changes that happened after December 2013 – but that anger and negative feelings are gone now and I have come to an acceptance of what is – and that which will enable Thailand to move on and develop in the way it should.
Before I went into hospital for the surgery, last Monday, I downloaded and saved a lot of jpeg images of Suvarnabhumi Airport and also some that I did not have of Chiang Mai Airport – along with a few from the old Don Meuang Airport that were missing in my collection. They will all be saved in multiple places on both Linux and Windows – along with all of the other Thai images already saved. Even so, Don Meuang still is (and always will be) my favorite Thai airport. My only regret is that it is not quite the same as it once was.
Going back to that word "acceptance" – it really becomes clear to me that acceptance is the key to success in relationships and in ordinary everyday interactions with all people. At the present time, I am vacillating between whether I will go back to Bangkok around the middle of next year – or whether I will say "enough is enough". There does come a time when one has to take stock of reality and assess whether it is worth pushing the envelope just that little bit too far. I think that, whatever decision I make, the over-riding word "acceptance" will give me the ability to be content with what is.
One decision that I have made has left me feeling very comfortable – I am once more wearing, on my 3rd finger L hand, the two rings that Wan gave me in 2005. I will never take those rings off again. She probably does not wear her rings any more – but that's OK – I feel close to her.