Beautiful Bangkok!

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“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
~ Anita Desai

 

So here I am in Thailand, after a wonderful flight, with many good movies and some delicious (really!) food. We got into our hotel at about 10.30pm local time, after midnight by my body clock, and Ben made the sensible choice and said that we actually needed to go to bed, although I was so excited that I wanted to do was race outside and DO EVERYTHING!!!

My plan this morning was to sleep in! To be on holidays! To do nothing!

And then of course, as I always do, I woke at 4am. So you know what happened next… I meditated, and sent you all some healing and love. Then yoga stretches, a long hot shower, and another lie down between clean hotel sheets before an early breakfast and some writing time.

There’s a fabulous massage place – Lavana Spa just up the road – so I’m going to toddle up there soon for some serious pampering, after which I’ll sleep (hopefully) and then hit the night markets tonight for some good Pad Thai.

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Oh my goodness. Holidays. It’s only just starting to sink in, this whole concept of nothing to do except whatever Ben and I feel like doing.

I’ll keep popping in and posting while the internet is so good. (Free and 25 times faster than the internet at the farm – mind boggling!)

And I’m a happy dog mumma right now, after hearing that the lovely friend who is farm-sitting for us took Cafe Dog to Doma Cafe in Federal for Sunday breakfast, which immediately scored her a seat at the locals’ table after they all recognised Harry Dog!

Hugs and love to all of you.
Nicole xx

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Random Bits of Thailand-Induced Happiness

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

~ Miriam Beard

Thailand; truly a land of smiles. Here are some of the random memory-making moments of my trip thus far.

– Breakfast, and novel editing, overlooking the hotel pool in Bangkok. Not exactly a hardship…

 

– Authentic Tod Mun Pla – Thai fish cakes with a sweet and sour chilli dipping sauce. Yum!

 

– A magical pink Kombi Van bar that dispenses delicious Mojitos for only $2. Did I say yum? Cheers!

-Towel animals! I know, I know.  I’m a grown up, and big girls really shouldn’t get excited about cutesy rolled linen, but hey – every time I come back to my room and find a new towel animal on my bed I grin like a loon. 🙂

 

– Early morning swims, walks on the beach and breakfasts of fresh tropical fruit. Not many early risers here in this place where nothing really kicks off til the sun is over the yard arm, so I feel like the world is mine at 6am!

– Lotus blossom in the murky waters of a canal. The beauty took my breath away.

Feeling very Blessed to have a life where travel, adventure and friendship fill my days. Much love to you! xx

 

 

A Psychic Kind of Day

Mother and son – by Stephen Armstrong

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

Just over a week ago, on my last day in Brisbane as I was running around madly, getting ready for my holidays, I received a text message from a client.  Could I speak with her sister? It was urgent.

There was no time left in my day to shoehorn in another thing, but I sensed this was important.  I made the time.

The woman I rang was at the end of her rope.  Her only child, an eleven year old boy, has an aggressive form of leukemia. They had exhausted every treatment possibility, and all that was left was the possibility of a bone marrow transplant.  But neither she and her husband, nor any of their family, were a suitable match. She wanted to know if there was any hope, anything left that she could try.

There’s not much can stop you in your tracks like that sort of intensity. I told her I would call her back. Then I went outside, and meditated.

I saw an upset boy yelling at his father. It was not the boy I’d seen in the picture the mother had texted me.  But from this image I saw a pathway back to hope.  I rang the woman back straight away.

“Your husband has another child,” I told her. I couldn’t find a subtle way of saying it.

“That’s not possible,” she said. “That’s. Not. Possible.” She pretty much screamed it at me.

“I’m sorry.  It is,” I said. “You need to talk with your husband. Just talk with him.”

“I thought you’d help me,” she cried,  “but you’re a useless fraud.  You’re pathetic.  I hope you rot in hell.” She was so angry with me she hung up.

It haunted me the rest of the day. I was only trying to help. I did my best to put it behind me, and I packed my bags and headed off to Thailand.

A week later we were in Bangkok, coming home from a night of dancing and fun, and one of the women called to me, “Miss, Miss, let me tell your fortune!”

“Go on,” urged my husband.  “It could be a bit of fun.”

It was only $3 Australian.  Why not?

So, my fortune…

“You are a mumma.  So happy. Many children and grandchildren for you.”

No, actually.  We have no children.

“Your business, no good. You no good at your work.  Better to be a mumma and stay home with your babies.”

Okay, this is going well…

More followed, none of it particularly inspiring.  My house will have a plumbing problem.  Nothing serious. Ha ha ha. Lots of travel.  My husband gets big promotion. There’s a win of money. Must look after my old parents. Blah blah blah.

Her parting words.  “You give up work.  Let husband keep. You no good your job. Be mumma. Better for you. Happy Happy.”

I got back to the hotel room, and picked up my laptop so I could get into bed.

There was a message for me on facebook. I didn’t recognise the name.

It was the woman I’d spoken to in Brisbane.  The one with the dying child. Turns out her husband had a son from a previous relationship, a long time before he met his now wife.  At seven years of age, the boy had told his father that he never wanted to see him again, and made his father promise to stay away – the boy’s mother had been in agreement, and so all contact had been severed.

The young man is now 22, has reconnected with his father, is thrilled to have a little brother, and is a match for a bone marrow transplant, which he has willingly volunteered to do for his young sibling. Hopefully, a happy ending.

My psychic kind of day went okay after all…

Rambo, the Celebrity Dog of MBK Thailand

“The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue” ~ Anonymous

Those of you who read my blog will know that I have a soft spot for dogs.  Although I love to travel, I eventually find myself missing my own animals, so when I’m away I seem to notice dogs more, and they always remind me of home.

In 2007 my husband and I were in Thailand, sitting at a cafe outside MBK Centre, a big Thai shopping Mall.  The security guards were out in force for some grand opening of a new store.  They had run red carpet up to the entrance, and used gold ropes to mark out a path for the dignitaries. There were fresh flowers, and it all looked very grand. Except for the scruffy stray dog who was sleeping right in the middle of the carpet.  He was covered in scabby wounds, and his eyes were weeping and sore.  You could see all his ribs.  He was not a good looking dog by any stretch of the imagination.

The Thai security were so patient with this stubborn stray.  They never raised their voice, they never resorted to aggression or frustration.  They just kept politely moving him on.

But no matter how many times the guards good naturedly herded the dog away, he kept coming back and lying down on that red carpet.  Finally, we watched in amazement as the guards pooled some money and sent the youngest man off to a street food vendor.  He bought some grilled meat on sticks, and used it to lure the dog away, just moments before the VIPs showed up. The dog obediently ate all of his bribes, the Official Party moved inside the building, and the dog went back to lie at the top of the steps in the sun, happy with his full belly.

It really made my day seeing the kindness of the guards and the gentle regard they had for the stray dog. Weeks later, safe back at my farm, I looked through my photos and wondered what would become of that MBK mutt – one hungry stray in a city of so many other homeless animals.

Fast forward to 2012, and we find ourselves back at MBK.  As I am walking along one of the overpasses towards the centre, I am stunned to see the same dog.  He is sleek, fat and healthy – busy engaged in eating a bag of soup noodles that a lady has bought from a vendor just for him.

I burst out smiling.  It was like running into an old friend.

I didn’t have my phone or camera with me, but to my surprise, when I googled MBK here was a picture of Rambo – who has become quite the celebrity over the past few years.  He even has his own fan page on facebook.

Hooray for dogs, and hooray for the people who treat strays with love and compassion.  May we all learn to have such regard for each other.

*All images from Rambo’s facebook fan page.

A Bangkok Kind of Day

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~ Henry Miller

So here I am, on holidays.  My morning started early, as always, with meditation.  Bangkok is the kind of place that starts late and finishes as I am waking up. So at 6am I was roaming the almost empty streets, which smelled of charcoal braziers, jasmine and rotting vegetation.  Robed monks fed stray dogs in the laneway behind my hotel, and sleepy-eyed locals on their way to work stopped at the many shrines to give offerings and say prayers.

Breakfast might be my favourite meal.  Fresh fruit, salad and grilled vegetables, pickles and rice, a little egg or meat. Steaming hot tea. All served with gentle smiles.

I feel so at home here. Already I can feel myself relaxing, unwinding and reconnecting to the lost bits of me.

Today has been a day of wandering to get my bearings.  Markets, street food, shopping, massages.  And of course, prayers and meditation at a local temple.

Here’s a sample of Bangkok through my eyes…