travel

Free Land

Day 2 in Thailand and I am as excited as Ka would be if she woke up one morning to find herself in Disneyland amongst all her favorite princesses! For those of you who know Ka (and her obsession with princesses), you would already be giving me credit for sitting in one place and typing out my blog instead of jumping around and screaming! For those of you who don’t know Ka, let me just say that the whole showing-the-excitement ritual will involve a lot of jumping, running in 239 different ways (including here-and-there, circles, helter-skelter, backwards etc.), screaming and ‘yay-ing’.

So, here I am, in Thailand, 2 days into a 10 day trip and already wishing that somebody would just wrap this country in Douglas Adams’ slo-time envelope. You can’t blame me for that! After all, it is not everyday that one gets to befriend an elephant, feed her, try mounting her from an elevated platform, get terrified of the height and refuse to get on, walk with her to the river, give her a bath, sit on her trunk, play with her in the water, watch her dive, have her spray water all over you, after a while walk back with her, give her some baht and watch her not eat it but give it to the mahout, give her a bear hug (even if it’s only her trunk), realize that time really does fly when you are having fun, curse time for flying, wish that somebody would just clip the feathers off of time’s hyper-efficient wings, and then move on to the next adventure.

It is not everyday that you get to walk a tiger, use a 7 month old tiger for a cuddly pillow, play with nine 1-2 month old cubs, have them lick you, put your head between their paws, hold them up against your face, touch your nose to theirs, have them take a little nap on your lap, have one of them climb all the way up to your shoulder trying to get to the milk bottle you are sitting there holding, and then when you give her the milk, have her push your face away with her paws because now your face is too close to her bottle of milk, have one of the older ones pounce on your 5-year old daughter in an attempt to attract her attention while she is sitting and playing with another little cub, and once again realize that time does really really fly when you are having the time of your life, once again curse time for flying, and resolve to clipping it’s damn feathers yourself because relying on someone else to finish that job just isn’t working.

It is not everyday that you get to eat the yummiest, absolute bestest, most awesomest Thai food on the planet! Penang curry, cashew chicken, a vegetable that has no English name because it is found only in one province in Thailand and it tastes like asparagus, ‘sombu keerai’, and something else at the same time. And it is not everyday that you get lectured by a 5-year old for ordering ice-cream. “It is unhealthy and being on vacation doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy all the time. You have to take care of your body and you must eat healthy food ALL THE TIME!”, she said. After that she went right ahead and left her bowl of chocolate ice-cream right there on the table, untouched, putting me and Mr.M to shame as we had just wolfed down our own bowls of sin!

It is not everyday that you get to walk on a bridge (on the river Kwae, not Kwai which means water buffalo) from world war II, get terrified of the height once again and walk back to where your damned phobia would just give you a break and calm down, then hear the guard blow his whistle to warn folks of an approaching train, watch the 2 loves of your life pose for a picture on the tracks with the train behind them, watch them (with a sigh of relief) step off the tracks and be gracious enough to give way to the passing train, feel your heart get on with it’s life and resume doing what it has been doing for the past 28 years, learn that perspective can make things seem much more scarier than they really are, and once again realize that time has been up to it’s dirty old tricks again.

And last but not the least, it is not everyday that you get to come back home (Yeah! Yeah! Hotel room….home…same thing! Home is where the heart is and right now my heart is very much here) dead tired, doze off the moment the head hits the pillow and sleep your best sleep ever, a good dreamless straight 8 hours!!!

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