What an adventure! I decided to go out a find some butter lamps that I have seen in Buddhist temples. Many people here in Thailand are Buddhist, so there must be someone who sells these ancient relics. I headed off to Phuket town at the advice of Aree who oversees the house in which I am living. Instead of taking a taxi, I decided to really go local and take the blue and white bus that goes from Phuket to Kamala, with stops right in front of my house. The last key ingredient to mix in to this adventure is rain, monsoon type rain, rain with thunder, rain that comes down in buckets. In fact, it is like the ice bucket challenge without the ice or bucket.
Off I went, stopping at the local cell phone place to top up my minutes. Next I swung by the grocery store to pick up a plastic covering to battle the rain. I had seen people wearing these on their scooters, and around my neighborhood, so I made my 21 Baht purchase. Next I found a nice place to wait by the side of the road to catch the bus. There aren’t any bus stops like you see in America. Instead, you have to wildly wave your arms and get the driver’s attention, or else wait another half hour or so for the next bus. I got his attention. On the bus I got, and off we went to the town of Phuket.
I got off the bus and was assaulted by taxi and tuk tuk drivers asking me if I needed a ride. I waved my hand, kept walking, and looked for a place to eat and get my bearings. I found a wonderful little café with real lattes and delectable deserts. I sat down for a while, enjoyed my latte while images of America floated through my head. The place even had a picture of John Lennon on the wall. After my montage of sepia toned memories, I was thrust back into Phuket, Thailand as thunder cracked and the heavens opened up. My goal was to aimlessly walk around, stopping in at shops in search of butter lamps, scarves, candles, incense and tingshas (Tibetan bells, which I forgot to bring to Thailand and use to begin and end my meditations).
I got so wet that no part of me was dry. Drenched. Not only is it raining, but wearing the 21 Bhat plastic cover created a sauna type environment for my body. I had buckets of rain pelting me while rivers of sweat were running down my body. All I could do was laugh, walk the streets, accept the rain and the sweat, and surrender to the elements. I walked. I got wet. I visited shops. I laughed. Others laughed with me. I did find one great shop that had some of the things on my list. I purchased a gorgeous green patterned scarf and my biggest find was a set of antique tingshas, which are at least 50 years old. What a powerful and sustained sound they have!
I had wondered about 3 miles from the bus drop off point, and I had 90 minutes to get back. I was lost, and just started walking. The rains poured down. I stopped for another latte, and this woman knew her espresso and foam stuff. Look at the pattern, the nice little cookies, and even green tea on the side. It was one of those moments, when everything tastes perfect, the environment is just right, and having endured miles of walking in the rain, I felt I deserved this special moment for myself.
Onward. Keep walking. Found a bus. Waved wildly. I had returned to the bus stop (a place on the road where the buses wait for passengers) and waited 45 minutes until we left. It was remarkable how much more, I observed, the Thai people live in the moment, not as lost in thought and opinion, as my American brothers and sisters. I admit that I was focused on the amount of time I was sitting on that bus waiting to leave. “When are we getting out of here?” I would think to myself. “I am wet, and tired, and want to get home!” Then I noticed the other people on the bus. They were talking, laughing, playing with their cell phones, and not seemingly concerned in the least about when we departed. It was an stirring reminder of not living in the past or the future, but living in the right here and right now. My life is what’s happening right now. And at that moment, I was sitting on a bus.
Got home after 45 minutes on the bus. Stopped for some milk at the grocery store. Stopped at the local food cart for some takeaway dinner. Finally got home at 6:30. Took a good long shower. Ate my dinner. Got a massage. Looked at my scarf and tingshas, and tried on my new t-shirt which I had bought in Phuket to swap out with my dripping wet button down. With a feeling of complete exhaustion, I crawled into bed. What a day! There were so many moments and memories. It was a wonderful adventure, physically challenging, emotionally satisfying and spiritual uplifting. As always, I am feeling blessed and grateful for this experience called life. And I am living it now.
About the Author
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