Meaningful Connections

© 2012 Tiago Marques

“A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” ~ Tim Cahill

Journal, 07 January 2012. Krabi, Thailand.

RIDERS OF KLONG MUANG.

Pasha joins Emre and I at the guesthouse around 11am, just as we were finishing breakfast. What a darling, she even brought us some sweets! Can’t eat anything more though, I’m stuffed on banana porridge…

Bit of a wander around town before we finally find a place with a spare bike to rent. Pasha gives Emre some tips and goes with him around the block for a test drive, but he’s a natural: a few minutes later he’s driving that scooter as if he’d been doing it all his life. In fact, we can barely keep up with him as we get on our way to Klong Muang and he speeds along the road!

We stop by a gas station along the way for an ice mocha and a bit of chat by the shade. As I suspected, Pasha and Emre got along brilliantly at first sight, the conversation is flowing beautifully between the two of them. Pasha also seems a bit more relaxed – her formal politeness has given way to joyful banter, and now she keeps punching my arm and trying to mess with my head like a bratty little sister

We spend the day trekking in Klong Muang. Hardly noticed time passing by. After a few hours we finally arrive at the top of the hill, and man… what a view

WHAT BINDS US TOGETHER.

Must be around 6pm when we get on the bikes and make our way back. We decide to stop at the Amazon Café for a second ice mocha. Hmmm ice mocha…

Emre tells us how he has his trips planned so he can avoid the mandatory army enrolment in Turkey, as he detests the whole military mentality… He’s too much of a pacifist and hopes at some point to set base in Australia to make some more money and continue travelling. Maybe even get a citizenship there, who knows?

We talk about the social friction between the Turks and the Kurds, another ethnic group residing in Turkey and technically also Turkish citizens, but because they see themselves as having a separate culture and traditions they tend to be ostracised by the Turkish government. Until recently they couldn’t even celebrate some of their holidays.

This is so strange. Different people in common land, trying to co-exist together the best way they can… The Turks and the Kurds. The Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. And I recall what Gilles told me about the Swiss and the Frank-Swiss… Isn’t a country supposed to be something organic, constantly changing and growing? But how to define the foundations for that growth? Who makes those decisions?

Interesting chap, this Emre… And what a fortunate coincidence that he just happened to be staying at the same guesthouse as me, we might have otherwise never met.

WHAT PULLS US APART.

Krabi. We stink of sweat but are too hungry, and decide to have a meal at the street market near the guesthouse. Emre and I share the costs and offer Pasha her dinner, it’s the least we can do considering she was such an awesome “tour guide” for the day…

Pasha explains us we shouldn’t give tips to the Thai staff as that creates some problems regarding how they serve tourists and how they treat the other local people… The girl waiting on us, for instance, gets paid 150 baht for every night she works here at the market (around £3 for a whole evening’s work). And if a tourist leaves two or three dollars as a tip, what kind of social and economical consequences do we think that creates? Foreigners get better treatment merely because they sometimes leave tips, and local people don’t.

Emre tells us about when he was in Bangkok five years ago (bloody hell, this guys travels a lot) he met a homeless lady, and how she was treated whenever she went some place for a meal – the staff would take ages to serve her food, hoping she would just bugger off. And the couple of times Emre joined her for a beer, people who passed by on the street and noticed the two of them would begin verbally assaulting the poor lady, even if they had never seen her before in their lives!…

There was something about the homeless woman that reflected a part of themselves. A part that they couldn’t love…

GRATITUDE.

• Flow. Doing my meditation regularly again sure helps.
• A day of physical exercise, warm sun, clean air and good energies.
• Enriching company and conversations.
• Being healthy and strong.
• My family.

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