If there was a goal to this trip, it was to find and feed the best version of myself. I have found myself in many ways; I have lost pieces of me to better causes. I do not think that I am yest the best version of me; but it is a work in progress. And I feel better anyway. Only, I would have never bet that I would feed my (new) self bananas.
Today, I left the hostel on a motorbike. I was a bit anxious about riding a scooter, for the first time, in Thailand. Well, their roads are better than the Belgian ones and everything went fine. I even got so confident that I took over a few riders on my way back home.
I took the public bus from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, and it was surprisingly comfortable. From the bus station, I resisted to the temptation of sitting in a tuk-tuk and walked my way to the hostel. After 40 minutes in the rising sun, my backpack started to be heavy, so I stopped in a vegetarian restaurant – it looked inviting. I have been here 2 days and have already been there 3 times. It is divine. I just cannot help myself.
I was actually just a block away from Numero 25, where I will spend the coming nights. I spent most of my afternoon looking for a swimming pool: asking in hotels if I could use theirs, for a fee, I experienced more rejection than I could handle. At some point, a guy who listened to my pathetic swim negociation offered to take me to a place he knew. He took me first to the public swimming pool, which was so dirty I could not see the bottom of the pool. He laughed and took me to another place, and another, and another until finally he dropped me at one of his friends place who owns a guest house. It was around 4.30, and I had the all place for myself. Happy me. After a few circles in the water, one of the guest joined me in the pool. He openly talke Dutch to me, genuinely believing I was his patriot. We talked, in Dutch, for about an hour. Fun to see I did not lose too much of my Dutch, neither of my thick French accent. I am still me, at the end of the day.
The end of the day… at the night market; observing the flow of people and the way they work together. I find it fascinating. I could sit for hours and observ people being and doing what they do best. I did not have dinner there, I was craving a yoghurt. So I went to the supermarket, got two plain yoghurts and I was the happiest in the world. I miss kwark. And pindakaas. Oh what I would give for a glass of ice cold chocomel, with a pindakaas sandwich.
I guess I am that Dutch now. Somehow, I am proud and happy to be confused with a Dutch girl. Just like I like my incapicity to pronounce H.
Today, with my helmet and my fear of traffic, I went to the Erawan falls. It is about 70 km from where I stay, so given my speed of 40 km for the first hour, it took me a while to get there. But I enjoyed the way, the gas emissions a little less. My first hour in the park was brilliant, quiet, relaxing. A very well maintained path guides you through a jungle were 7 levels of waterfalls are to be found. The water there is so blue, it is almost mystical. Around 11.30, the place gets a bit busier and on my way out it was crowded. I am happy I came early and enjoyed the walk and the pools by myself.
Nested between slippery rocks covered with moss, beneath shady trees… 1, 2, 3…7 waterfalls! All different and majestic, they shaping water into pools, rivers and cascades of a water so blue one could wonder what it is made of. Inhabited by hundreds of fish, the waterfalls also are a playground for lizards – I spotted one with a red head, I still do not know if he was upset, stylish or just red -, birds, wild pigs and surprisingly enough a very rare collection of wild dresses.
Leaving this slice of paradise, I jumped on my scooter and try to find another route to go back home. But first thing first : I am craving a banana, so I stop on a market and feed the new me. I am on a scooter, not lost, having a banana; and I did not shampoo this morning (I did yesterday night). It may seem like nothing to you, but it is not to me!
On my way to the rail track, I found an elefant farm. I cannot tell if they are happy or not, but it breaks my heart to see the chains around their feet. They seem playful, but are they or do they simply respond to the orders given by the young boys fooling around with them?
A little bit further, I cross the railtrack; still looking for the Death Railway pass. A few minutes later, I am in a mediation center were a monk welcomes me. Not a word was spoken but his eyes and hands gave me all the information I was looking for. The kindness expressed by his behavior turned me upside down. It felt like he was moving in slow-motion, especially when he put his hands together to bow down. Short and intense moment.
I headed into the direction he was indicating and found a sort of sanctuary, where I stopped for a few minutes. Magic. It is in the time you take that you find the best of things: you meet the people who will change your life, in a few seconds; you discover the things you can do and give you the confidence to keep going; you will learn more about yourself and eventually get to a place of peace and self love; you will find the energy and ressources to help others and to be a better person into your own world. It is in the time you take that you build a better version of yourself. Not in the rush, not in the pursue of efficiency. It is in the time you allow yourself to take that you become the best version of yourself.
I rode back to Kanchanaburi in a pouring rain, and I could not stop smiling at the green skyline. Back in town, I went directly to my vegetarian restaurant and devoured a bowl of brown sticky rice with mango and … banana.