Farang

It has been raining all day, but as I am not made of sugar I went through the adorable city of Luang Prabang today. I spent most of my time over the last two day sitting in buses, trains and airplanes.

Well, I did manage to get myself into another hotel pool in Bangkok – for free – but for my defense I had no other choice. It simply is too hot in there to be doing anything else than swimming.

After burning my lips and tongue on some delicious spicy shrimps in the canteen of a dark street, I went back to my hostel to spend the night. I woke up to a grey sky, promising some rain. Before flying to Laos, I went back to the park, did some walking, swinging and singing – which probably brought the rain I flew away from a few hours later.

The time spent in airports is not necessarily at loss. I love observing the people, the way the move, wait, stress, communicate. I find it fascinating the share a moment of time with so many strangers, who all experience the same minutes in thousands different ways. We all are machines, which function in ways that keep us apart from each other.

Arrived in Laos, I got ripped off by the taxi and I got really upset. Why is it that I always have to look twice for the money I am getting back? Why do I have to pay twice as much as a local for the same service or the same fruits? Why do they assume that because I happen to be white, I am legitimately richer than them? I do not want to sound rude; but I find it exhausting to negotiate everything; it is not a game anymore. It is just too easy to assume that I can pay more just because I am blond with blue eyes. I feel silly complaining about this; but it is to me a real call for awareness. Why do we keep judging each other based on appearances?

If there is a fruit, a service, a job to be offered; it should be made equally available to all people. Chances must be given. I cannot get used to the idea that anything conditioning our instincts can separate us into groups and therefore keep us apart, I find it revolting. Yet, it has become the most natural thing to do among our societies. I found it out here while paying twice as much as a local for museum, yoga classes or any social activities. And I wonder how we manage it back home, to keep groups and communities apart. Because I am sure we do the same, just in a different sneaky way.

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Why do we feel the need to allocate people to a group, and why do we need to feel like we are part of a community? How and when did being human become insufficient? Why do we need to march and fight for our ideas and feelings to be respected? Why do we need to protest just to gain the right to be as we wish? What happened? Is there really no common culture to all human beings, despite our origins and beliefs? Can we only blame it on greed and power? What was the plan… and more importantly what is the plan?

Among all feelings and thoughts crossing my heart and mind over the miles I travelled, I will retain one blessing: the immersion in cultures so different from one another taught me a lot more about my own. I am efficiency oriented; I love structure and genuine smiles. I could use a little extra flexibility sometimes … I joined a yoga class here tonight. Stretching my hips on a smelly mat, I extended both my muscles and my mind. Relaxing on a non-sanitized mat probably was on the top 10 of the most challenging thing I have done in the last 4 months.

The main character of my current read said today ‘’I was dead before I started this mission. I was dead and I did not even know it; this is why I accepted to be sent here. Now, I have to survive. I brought myself back to life’’.

I never want to stop learning; this is what makes me feel alive.

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