Miaow Miaow (AKA Rani, AKA Bonita) She loves to climb trees. We’ve seen her very high up. Maybe she was a squirrel in her last life. She is fearless and has no trouble coming back down the trunk she climbed up to get there.
But sometimes, a little lapse of judgement.She got herself up on the roof of one of the salahs. Not sure how to spell that—it’s the outside Mandap building where the yagyas were performed by the pandits. The roof is quite high, probably about twice my height. Maybe she was above in a tree nearby and jumped down?
She appeared to be stuck there. No close trees for her to jump to and a loooonnng way down for a little cat. I went to see, with the Mother Divine lady who feeds her. When she saw us, she paced and cried. We stood below, pondering what to do. Holding up my arms, I tried to talk her into jumping. She considered it, briefly.
We found a small bamboo ladder. Too short to lean against the building. We held it propped against the roof and invited her to climb down. First she rubbed against the ladder to claim it, but she slowly came down. She’s so good and very intelligent.
Getting closer to the middle of the ladder, she sat like a queen on a pallaquin and we lowered it until she was comfortable jumping off. What an adventure. I thought she would have learned her lesson, but already I’ve rescued her a second time by myself. Not as easy because she has to climb further down to the middle of the ladder before I have the strength to lift it away from the roof. Otherwise, her weight makes it more like a see-saw! I think we may need to find a way to permanently affix the ladder so she can be self-sufficient with her climbing. Silly cat!
जय गुरु देव
Recently, in Bangkok, we were stuck in typical crazy rush hour traffic. I’m not sure there is a non-rush hour in Bangkok, it’s always pretty insane. Anyway, one night, Anna asked the driver (one of our staff from Chantaburi) if he was hungry and he said no, but he urgently needed hong nam (rest room). So while we were stopped in traffic, he jumped out of the van, ran across the road and disappeared from our sight. Another staff member moved over into his spot and kept driving until he came running back. That’s when we learned that the Thai term for this situation is that he needs to shoot a rabbit. If it’s a woman, she needs to pick a flower.
Love our warm climate. Somehow it feels more humid this year. On morning walks, I’m often looking up into the trees for birds. If I stop to take a photo and have to tip my head back, my glasses fog up from the moisture on my face! Maybe I just need to walk a little earlier. There is the challenge of walking early enough to keep cool, but also catching the right light which comes from the sun a little later in the morning.
This could be my new most favorite bird photo ever. Chestnut-Headed Bee-Eater. Now please picture me standing down below a very tall tree, stretching my camera taut on the strap around my neck, holding my breath and extending the digital zoom all the way out to X140. It shakes but if I am very patient, sometimes it works and this is the latest result. Worth the sore neck. Enjoy!
This gallery contains 13 photos.
Let’s talk about something beautiful; Lotuses! Sold in the market as closed buds, waiting to be opened. The deep green buds yield beautiful pink blossoms. Light green will surprise you with white. I realize they have to do sell them unopened. A lotus opens in one day and then the petals all fall off by … Continue reading
NOT maya is the constant presence of all sorts of insects, especially the ubiquitous ants. Really, if you don’t like ants, don’t come to Thailand. I’ve had at least 4 different sizes of ants in my room.
Last year I was told to bring baby powder and vaseline. The powder is sprinkled along the outside of the door to discourage them from coming over the threshold.
I found 2 powdery kitty prints that were left on my sandals. See how the cat had followed me to Chiang Mai? At least she kept in my memory as I discovered the paw prints when I unpacked my sandals at the hotel.
But really, there is nothing airtight (ant-tight?) about my room. There are cracks all around in the walls and of course around the windows. In the beginning, I care alot about them and go thru all the various tricks to discourage. But eventually, they are so common, you live with them. Maybe someday I will be giving them names instead of sweeping them out the door, or worse when they really “bug” me. It depends on my mood and what they do to bring themselves to my awareness . I haven’t achieved perfect ahimsa (non-violence) yet!
For instance, the ones that still get to me are the tiniest that like to crawl up my arms and bite me at the crook of my elbow. Or crawl on my toes and do the same.
They also were getting into my computer. Actually if you Google “ants in a Mac”—after all the ridiculous cute comments (clever? NOT!!) about bugs in computers and suggestions to make your house ant proof, etc,—eventually you will discover someone who actually takes the question seriously.
I’ve read that Apple uses something in their thermal pads (whatever those are!) that ants love. I understand they’re attracted to the heat too. We had this situation in South America.
Anyway I had a lot of ants crawling in and out of my keyboard one day. I wasn’t happy about it. I think they can cause some damage. So I went a little more proactive and got out the ant moats. These are a cup within a cup. Well, its a bowl-like affair that has an inner cup where you place the legs of your table, bed, etc. Then the outside bowl gets filled with water and voila! You have an ant moat. I just need to remember to keep them filled with water, altho some people say salt is better, others tell me to use detergent. I compromised and used water with some added detergent. I like that idea, knowing they won’t be mosquito breeding waters too.
I also did this a month ago for my bed because I was finding a larger size ant on my pillow at night and in the sheets. I know, YUK! Well, some things are easier to accept than others.
I still find a few ants on my desk. To get there, they have to crawl from the wall onto the hanging ethernet cord, or from the floor, up the cord of my AC adapter. So I keep those things unplugged when not in use and seem to have gotten them down to only a few, not the 20-30 that were pouring out of my keyboard at one point.
I have a food table, my desk, the bed and my puja table which all anchored in moats. That still leaves un-moated the table I have by my bed where I keep my glasses, etc. Now I must tell you about one very disconcerting thing that I’ve experienced in South America and Asia.
Sometimes when I put my glasses on, there’s a tiny ant running around the rims. Weird. I just have to take off my glasses and knock or blow it off. I have learned to deal with it, but not sure I will ever get used to it. I don’t appreciate ants racing around my eyes.
Living in Thailand brings different experiences. There is always the basic feeling of living in a foreign country and wanting to stay healthy. In my first week here, I had a bit of health maya. I was down on the floor doing asanas and when I turned over a certain way, I felt a deep pain in my upper leg. Just on one side, but it was a new pain like I had never felt before. I was still jet-lagged and lacking some clarity of thought. At first I was just shocked. Where did this come from? And was it going to be something I’d have to deal with in a foreign country?
I avoid doctors like the plague so my first reaction was a bit of denial and then I decided I’d wait to see if the pain persisted. With my fairly high level of pain tolerance, maybe I would have to live with it for awhile.
Later, I had a simple cognition. I was wearing my favorite pants with cargo pockets in them. And yes, there was something in one of the pockets that I had forgotten about, a tube of chapstick that had been digging into my leg when I turned a certain way and put pressure on it. HA! So much for that pain, as I heaved a great sigh of relief and felt a little silly in the process.
When I came in Dec 2011, I had one rule for myself; to be accepting. Accepting of everything new I was about to experience. I made the conscious decision not to sleep with a mosquito net. Sleeping with a net does not feel accepting to me. It feels like I am trying to separate and protect myself and it doesn’t feel necessary or right. It’s more comfortable here if I am not always resisting.
This year there’s another accepting for me. I am brushing my teeth with the water from the faucet, not out of a bottle. It’s so much easier and none of the Asian ladies use bottled water to brush their teeth. I am accepting of the water. In this case, I can see our water tanks, there are some directly outside my back window. I hear them too. More accepting.
And lizards! That’s an easy one. I love lizards. Each room has at least one resident lizard, mine took awhile to discover this time. Seems it was living behind my toilet. And very very shy. Doesn’t want to be seen. I talk to them and tell them not to be afraid but I guess I’m not much of a lizard whisperer. One day I even lifted the toilet lid and the lizard came racing out from under the toilet seat!! Now that could prove awkward, to say the least. I’m not sure who was more surprised, the lizard or me. But they don’t make me jump or my heart race when I see them. I am just concerned that they stay out of my way as I would feel awful if I accidentally hurt one.
Ever since that experience, I think the lizard also decided maybe the bathroom was no longer the safest haven. Now I see it in other parts of the room. Out of the corner of my eye, I see some movement on the wall and then I see it moving away from me.
Once I started using the air conditioning, my resident lizard moved into my second, warmer and non air-conditioned room which has become my storage and walk-in closet. That’s much better. They are cold blooded of course and I know the air conditioning doesn’t agree with it. But still sometimes I see it in other parts of the room. When the AC was not on, one day I looked up from typing and there it was, slipping behind my curtains right in front of my desk. I wish it would come down on my desk and eat the ants that are attracted to my computer.
It’s considered good luck to have a resident lizard so we’re both happy with the arrangement. I haven’t seen it eating any insects but perhaps it prefers not to be observed when dining. It must be finding something or it wouldn’t stay.
Accepting is easy when it comes to the Thai culture. I have completely accepted that I can’t go sleeveless outside of my room. And no swimming in my 2 piece or even my 1 piece swimsuit. I thought it would be harder to grow accustomed to swimming or walking on the beach in tee shirt and long shorts but it works fine here because it really is appropriate for this culture. Doesn’t do much for my tan of course, this year I will again have a “farmer’s tan” as they call it.
I don’t walk with an umbrella or wear hats much. I love the feeling of the sun on the top of my head. I think it calms my vata. When it is really hot, I feel great! Just have to remember to drink enough water.
Of course, what comes in must come out. Drinking brings us to another Thai custom;. Hong Nam. (spelling?) Also known as toilet. In bigger stores, like Tesco, Makro and the great Robinson’s “Department Store”, one can usually find a western style (seated) toilet, as one of the choices. But in smaller markets or at the beach, or on the road at rest stops and fuel stations, it is a hole in the ground. This has taken some getting used to, but once you know what to expect, it’s not so bad, you just deal with it.
Along with aromatherapy, we have visual therapy. I am forever busy with my camera, hoping to catch the many incredible floral views. Many roses are planted around the grounds and then there are the hibiscus. We have them in red, white and oranges. The red and white ones are the skinny version, the orange ones are fuller. There’re also some doubles. Once in awhile, even a butterfly actually holds still long enuf for me to catch it with my camera.
We had a lovely Silence. The first 7 days of the New Year. I love beginning the year this way. Hard to believe I’ve actually been here in Thailand almost a month already. The time goes fast.
A special feature of this beautiful environment—delicious natural aromatherapy. On walking between my room and the dining hall, many incredible scents come wafting up. Some are unfamiliar; the small red and pink flower that grows in vines and is trained over an archway above the sidewalk, the tiny white flowers that grow in clusters. Last year I remember discovering an equally tiny milky clear spider, living on those flowers, well camouflaged.
And of course, jasmine. Reminds me of India and Puerto Rico where I first experienced jasmine. (Also reminds me of Gabriella who shares that love with me). And gardenias. And plumeria (AKA Frangipani) and the long little trumpet shaped flowers that fall from a tree above that smell so magical when you pick them up and take a whiff. We also have some Ylang Ylang, but so far it is not in it’s perfume phase. I read online that the flowers go from white to green to yellow. They are green right now, I will see if I am here when they turn yellow.
Ylang Ylang has a very unusual looking flower, it’s petals are more like tentacles and it grows with its head bent over, facing downwards, I wonder why. I read that it’s the scent of Chanel #5. Seems that Chanel wanted something completely different from roses or lily of the valley. They definitely got it with Ylang Ylang. From the aromatherapy angle, Ylang Ylang is naturally relaxing and specifically un-inhibiting. Hmmm. Wonder if Chanel knew about that!?