as of late the beginnings of monsoon season winds have brought to me some of the most captivating experiences of my life thus far as an entity of flesh and bone. firstly the shift from mundane occurred instantly with the onset of a pervasive water war mentality over the country. songkran. the official new years festival here is not characterized by a frozen crowd within the containment of times square, waiting for the ball to drop. as a side note i have officially decided i believe this to be one of the lamest of american traditions, i mean let's be real... the ball doesn't even drop and dick clark is well just exceptionally old. anyways, in chiang mai the situation is markedly different and the influx of notable tourism in the city over the course of the week is astonishing. known as the epicenter of songkran debauchery travel outside of ones home from the hours of about 5 am to 9 pm is essentially a request to be drenched. for those of you who aren't quite grasping this reality, the entire city shuts down and all are armed with water guns and buckets and exceptionally eager to partake in water fights in the peak of drunkeness. this continues for the better part of 5 days, my two spent traipsing through the city dyed blue from the stain of my tie-dye dress was i have to say enough.
also, in the first days of my freedom from school things and responsibilities of anything and everything i took the opportunity to escape to the jungle and ride elephants. going through an elephant home, one of the only existing legitimate elephant sanctuaries. (how we deem it acceptable to use animal exploitation as a means for tourist capital is far beyond my realm of understanding) regardless, the morning started early with feedings and my introduction to my elephant who was named after the moon but, who from mounted upon it's neck for the first time was re-named anabsolutelyfuckinghugeanimal. we continued with this affectionate nickname for the duration of the afternoon and especially during any period of descent. on the back of the largest living creature, i'm quite sure of it, traveling paths well worn by the stomping of elephant hooves was heart in your throat, not wanting to breath too much to take away from the world at that precise second kind of adventures. there were periods of very serious mud bathing and river playing and mahout friend making. overall the afternoon closed somewhat reluctantly and i said goodbye for now to the absolutelyfuckinghugeanimal i had fallen in love with and promptly napped my way home.
the second part of my break incorporated my first trip to the ocean since my rebirth on this side of the world. the island of koh chang is small and nestled in the gulf of thailand relatively non existent in comparison to the the archipelago of indonesia and the many other various mountains in the sea. yet this reality is one of the most utterly appealing aspects as this small formation of rock emerging from the pristine waters is untouched as any part of the world is in the 21st century. the quintessential utopian combination of palm trees lining white sand beaches with waters clear enough to see down to the reefs below at around 20 ft. while the daylight hours provided immense beauty and stern lessons from the sun on the ignorance in taking a 4 hour swim in open water in the middle of the day and then yet another from the coral that composes a 30 foot barrier to the shore of said island. the hours deep in the night long after the soothing melodies of reggae from local gatherings had ceased however were the ones that won over my soul. the stars that illuminated the sky in these moments of solitude were so vast and widespread they seemed to reach every crevice of the universe. taking up residence with the sand and earth beneath me the stars that were so powerful to simply stare up at took on another meaning altogether when their reflection cast up from the oceans lulling waves to create an ampitheater of indescibable beauty. the pervasive feeling on the island of slow and steady movements congruent only with the resting heartbeats of the contented tourists and locals moving about in the sun of the equator brought up the same reality i seem to keep facing. that no longer is the life i lead lost in the bustle of the drive for achievement that permeates the society i've left behind is in fact not at all the way to do it. yet, these are life revelations i must postpone for another year or so i suppose. i am left now with a heart at peace and a soul resting and reveling in my last moments of a life in chiang mai.