Saturday, April 16, 2011

Highlights of the Past Month

So I haven't written in this blog for a while so here are a few highlights as of recently:

Songkran - is a water festival celebrated in Thailand, Burma, and maybe some other countries too. It is basically a 4 day massive water fight/party. SUPER FUN!! Just driving around town people line the street throwing buckets of water and passers by, which is nice actually cuz it is super hooooootttt right now. So I've spent the past few days running around town.

The Waterfall: There's a waterfall just on the outskirts of the village which some local friends took me to last week. It was a fun afternoon/evening filled with swimming, guitar playing and the best part - cliff jumping. Despite my youth/adolescence spent in a coastal town with abundant cliffs suitable for jumping off of, I still feel as though my lifetime cliff-jumping resume is not as distinguished as I'd like. It was a great time.

The Butterflies: The beautiful natural environment continues to amaze. A few weeks ago I was taking a short-cut from my village (Doh Ki Tah) to the nearby Thai village (Nai Soi). The path involves cutting through some farmer's paddy fields and walking through a river. It was a quiet morning. I am walking down the path approaching the river, and I notice along the river bed a few butterflies just sitting together along the river's edge, green on the bottom, white on the top. They were in my path and as I continued to walk toward them they started to take off. I quickly realized that what I first thought was 5 or 6 butterflies was in fact, 25 or 30 which proceeded to dance in circles around me. I didn't dare move, as that might scare them off, and besides I was awestruck. They danced away leaving my thinking, "THAT WAS THE COOLEST FREAKIN' THING I'VE EVER SEEN!!!" wish I had my camera.

The Chinese Village: I went to it for the second time, this time I took some friends from out of town (you can see pictures on Facebook). We put our toe over the Burmese boarder heavily guarded by a bamboo fence, although after we were there for a while some Thai soldiers did show up - but no one was to be seem the first time I went. The other highlight was playing on the man-powered, wooden ferris wheel, and shooting our very small friend Grace around. I was too heavy for my friends to push me up o the top, but I was able to climb up the rungs to the top and fly down. figuring out the weight balances was like physics class mixed with a carnival WHAT MORE COULD SOMEONE WANT?!?!?!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Logical Man

This song is a bit of a before and after of my experience here. The first verse is a kind of how I felt when I arrived and the second how that changed. I've never chosen my words so carefully when writing a song before - I felt like I had to for this one.

The Logical Man

Drink down the calculations of my brain,
Eventhough I believe em, I don't know if I want to,
And I feel the blood pump through my veins,
and eventhough I want to I know I won't appease the pump,
its pumps truth, too bad thats no use.

I'm locked up by a logical man,
He's responsive to a rational demand,
And I'm slipping him notes through the bars,
Sayin' you gotta let me out, my patients only goes so far,
But on my parole date I can not state that I've been rehabilitated,

For now I'll stay far away from home,
I'll prove I can do it, and say that I've done it,
How long will I be locked up alone?
There's comfort in the fact that time is passing,
Sometimes passing feels like about all that it is doing.

On the wall of this room there sits a dichotomy,
Posters of my two idols Batman and Ghandi,
I only recently became aware of the irony.

So I stared at myself in the mirror, 
And hoped the image was nearer,
To what I pictured in my head, 
Almost chose not to care instead,
I don't want no idle pleasure, 
I just need to find my pending pride

I just spoke with the logical man,
He said pick yourself up take my hand,
Take a good, hard look all around,
How could you let this place get you down?
You got everything here that you need, I think that you will agree

You'll find just what your looking for,
It's incased in these walls and this floor,
And that blood pump you whole-heartedly ignore,
For its service you better implore, 
It'll turn this place into a home, this locked safe into a treasure chest

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Local Fauna Part 2

I had an almost poetic follow up to my last blog post last night. I was driving back to the village on my motorbike. The night had just gotten completely dark and a fellow volunteer Laura and I were driving through a perpetual cloud of bugs that splattered into our faces. Without warning what looked like a piece of garbage fell from a tree in front of us. I didn't notice it until I felt it on my right hand that clutched the handle bar and it hit the front of the bike with a solid knock.

We were both baffled. We weren't sure what it was that hit the bike but thought it might have been a bird. I turned the bike around. I parked the bike so that the head light was shinning on the road where the thing lay. It was a beautiful owl. It wasn't too big. I'd guess the wing span would have been 2 or 2 1/2 feet. He was kind of looking around and moving his wings a little bit, but didn't make any attempt to fly. I remember thinking that he moved like a mechanical animal out of the first jurassic park movie.

We wrapped the owl in my jacket and Laura cradled him on the ride back to the village were we though someone would know what to do. He stopped moving on the ride home and I was 84% sure that I had now failed to save two birds in as many weeks. We brought him back to the village and showed him to our friend Ri Reh, who told us he was still alive. He found the owl's pulse in his armpit (or should I say wingpit?). I was once again blown away by the local people's knowledge of wildlife in the area. We still had hope!

We lay him down on a table under the window. My eyes were glued to him for the next two hours. He didn't move much in that time, but every once in a while he'd wake up look around and then pass out again. About three hours later he let out a couple of hoots and flew into the night.

Lifetime record for saving injured birds: 1 for 2. I'll take it

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Local Fauna

Two very interesting things happened to me over the past week. Both things directly related to the local fauna. The first thing occurred on a very unsuspecting morning. I was sitting at my desk working on something which I can't remember what it was now when I heard a rustling outside. I was the only one in the office. I figured it was probably just the chickens running around or climbing on the roof like they so often do (those crazy cocks!) so I left it alone. So I'm working away and once again I hear the chickens but then I thought to myself, 'that is too loud to be a chicken'. But then it got quite again and I ignored it. Anyway this little song and dance went on for the better part of an hour before I finally decided to put my curiosity to rest. I opened the front door of the office and there was a water buffalo standing 2 feet from me and staring right at my face. We both froze. I stared into his tantalizing eyes for what seemed like 10 minutes but which was probably only 12 seconds. after a long moment the freeze was broken by the water buffalo abruptly turning his head to eat a bar of soap sitting on the bench next to him. He chewed exactly twice and then swallowed the bar of soap and continued starring at me. I paused again more briefly this time and then burst out laughing which scared the water buffalo away. hahaha! Man that was funny.

The second story is a little less funny. I went on a rafting trip this weekend with a couple friends (soooo fun), in which I managed to let the rapids throw me off the raft twice.... no one else on the trip got thrown off once. Anyway, at one point our guide steers the raft into the river bank and runs up the hill without a word. He is rustling in the bushes for a minute leaving the rest of us to only guess what he is doing. After a minute or so he pops out with what looks like a parakeet, her two wings pinched at the ends between his fingers. Of course we all launch in with the questions. He said the bird was endangered and she had been injured, probably from a larger bird (maybe an eagle he said) that tried to eat her. I have no idea how he spotted her or knew that she was injured from 50 meters away, but somehow he did. This guy has talent what can I say. Anyway it had become our mission to get the bird to the end of the river ASAP so that we could get her some medicine and hopefully nurse her back to health. Margery wasn't going down without a fight! (I named her – it kinda stuck) Unfortunately this tale of heroics has a sad ending. Margery died on the way back. She now lays to rest buried in the beaches of the river where she lived. That was a beautiful story that I'll never forget.