November 2009

Post image for Things We Said Today

There was a moment last week when I found myself standing on a beach I never could have imagined. Bookended by two cliffs was a great, smooth expanse of the most otherworldly sand. It was like a Neapolitan ice cream of fine golden sand, exotic black obsidian grains, and clear, saltlike crystals.

In the distance, perhaps a hundred metres away, a ferocious surf pounded, sending the occasional sheet of water sliding halfway up the beach and back into the sea, leaving different artwork in the sand each time.  Read More

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Early morning in Hua Hin

Well, my four weeks in Thailand is up, and I’m sad to leave. I arrived in New Zealand yesterday so my spirits are high but I do wish I had more time for pad thai, beaches, Singha beer, banana pancakes and night markets. It seems hard to believe now, but I actually thought I might not like Thailand. Now I am determined to go back one day.

Ah well.

My blogging mismanagement continues, and there will be no article today. Hopefully Monday’s was sufficiently long-winded to keep you busy. More stories and updates are coming to David Goes Kiwi as well over the next few days.

I have a bit of a backlog of emails too, sorry for the slow turnaround. Each will be answered soon, thank you as always for writing me.

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blame

“I hate the person who invented Mondays.”

I saw that phrase on someone’s Facebook status a week or two ago, and it made me smile. It’s definitely an understandable sentiment. I remember miserable grade-school mornings, being dragged out of bed by my mom. All I could do was grumble bitterly, “I hate the person who invented school!”

And I really did. I could almost picture this person: a crusty, stern Englishman with thick glasses and a white mustache, rapping a stick on the chalkboard. What a nasty thing to do to me, to invent school. I hated him.

At least, I hated him during those moments when I was being dragged out of bed and shuffled off to school. In fact, I’m sure there were times when I realized that there probably wasn’t one person out there in history who was solely responsible for inventing school and spoiling my mornings. But at that moment at 7:30am when I was yanked out of my pleasant dreams, he was ruining my life. Read More

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chopsticks

There is a saying in Thailand that you may have seen on a T-shirt: “Same same but different.” When you ask a local how Ko Samui compares to Ko Lanta, he might scratch his chin for a moment, then shrug and say “Same same, but different.”

Back in May I wrote about Bowerbirds, a species of bird that attracts its mate by creating works of art. Their almost human-like values of beauty remind us that the superficial quality of form is the only thing that makes us different from other life. The function is pretty much the same, only the methods and styles differ. Within the narrower spectrum of different human populations, we’re even more alike.

Thailand has become a rather heavily touristed country, and I suppose that has taken the edge off the culture shock a westerner might feel stepping out of an airport taxi into the streets of Bangkok. For me it was a little bit of an adjustment, but I have to say I was surprised at how similar this side of the planet is to the side I’m used to. Read More

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Apologies for the inconsistent posting recently. I’ve been living in a bamboo hut on a secluded beach on Ko Lanta, where wi-fi is scarce and exclusive, and even the land connections are unreliable. For me to use the internet I have to take a sweaty half-mile hike down the beach, and the terminal may be in use when I get there. Just now I made the trip, and planned on uploading an article from my trusty USB stick, but this computer doesn’t recognize my file type and the whole OS is in Thai.

Oh well. I do continue to write and will post as soon as the situation allows me to. Shouldn’t be long, I’m headed to beautiful Ko Phi Phi today, maybe I can snag some Wi-Fi time there.

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Mainland British Columbia, from the shore at Hollyhock

Just before flying to Thailand, I spent five days at a retreat community called Hollyhock. It’s a humble, rootsy little hamlet on the relatively remote Cortes Island. I knew very little about the program I’d signed up for, only that it was about Buddhism.

It turns out that it was a rather intense regimen of meditation. Our group of fifteen or so spent virtually our entire days (from 7am to 10pm) in some form of meditation. Sitting, walking, dancing and even eating. I’ve experimented with meditation, but never for extended periods. This was a bit of a shock, finding myself sitting in a candlelit hut with nothing to do for hours but stare into my own mind.

In the tradition of Theravada monks, we undertook several Buddhist precepts, including refraining from consuming intoxicants, and refraining from killing people for the duration the five days. We also observed “noble silence” which means we were not to talk or engage other people, even with mere eye contact. Read More

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nausea

Some of you may have run across this already, but I’ve got an article published in an inspirational ebook called Reasons for Hope. It was very early on in my blogging career that I wrote my contribution, but the book was only released fairly recently. It contains 23 pieces by 17 writers, including some of my most talented friends, Lisis Blackston and Jay Schryer.

Within the broad theme of hope, it contains everything from smileworthy short stories to straightforward how-to’s. I haven’t read all of them but I’m pleased to be among such a solid lineup. Throughout the pages you’ll find a whole palette of ways to spin silk from suffering. If you’re looking for a place to start (other than the beginning) I think Rey Carr’s The “Right” Wrong Number exemplifies the book’s message perfectly.

The book is completely free and you can find it here.

My effort is called The Two Spells of Nausea That Changed My Life, on page 54. I hope you enjoy. If it makes you feel uneasy, take two Gravol and plenty of fluids.

Photo by Cutglassdreamer

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