Outside Para, Bhutan. February 21, 2015. I had a tiger by the tail. Or it had me. In the last few years I’ve hiked far greater distances....
Crouched on the diving platform at the aft of boat, I held one fourth of a dead human in my hands. Several crew members were moving just...
We were eating Thailand. We ate from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, from Sukhothai to Chiang Rai, from Chiang Mai back to Bangkok. February 2015 As one guy remarked...
Two of my worlds collide in Bangkok, saved by Thai dancers, unexpected grace, and continuing a centuries-old tradition of royal Thai dance. February 2015 First, I love...
Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China, late December, 2014. Part 7: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving...
Late December, 2014.
Thoughts while rolling eastward through the vast boreal forest of Russia and Siberia, an epilogue.
Something there is with trees when they grow old. They want to lie down. If they’ve escaped disease, fire, the woodsman’s saw or the bad luck to take root in a future construction site, they age in place and finally die. And lie down.
Here at home in Nevada’s Spring Mountain Range drought and bark beetles take down the stately Ponderosa pines of 80 foot height and 200 years or more of growth. They stand, nude, after their needles have fallen, the lower branches lopping themselves off, weighted with snow, unable to bear the wind. Then, some windy night as the air from up on the high cliffs tumbles down the steep slopes with increasing speed, the old tree leans, topples and falls to the earth.
Siberia, Russia and beyond, late December, 2014.
Part 5: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real. We were on board for many things, but principally we were there for the ride.
We were there for the ride.
Our travel across Russia and Mongolia to Beijing, China took 10 days, departing on the night of December 20th and arriving in Beijing near noon on the 29th. Eight of nights were spent on the train, one in a ger in rural Mongolia, and one other night in a guesthouse in Ulan Bator. Except for our two planned stops—14 hours in Irkutsk, Siberia, and two days in Mongolia, we rode the train. It’s certainly possible to plan a trip with stops, or just get off somewhere and take another train later.
Outside Chiang Mai, Thailand. February 11, 2015.
A short vignette from my third around-the-world trip (and to those who are tempted to say, “that ain’t travel, that’s flying” read on . . . you have been forgiven).
On the final night in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we had dinner at a somewhat elegant country home a few miles out of the city. After dinner we walked out across the lawn and onto a broad driveway. There we lit and launched into the night sky “floating candles”, large white paper bags strung on slender wicker sticks with a nest of wax- soared paper centered on a cross stretching across the bottom. Before the launch we held the candles down as the hot air from the flame in the bag strained to push them upward. Each of us dredged up our bad thoughts and memories, and then released them with the candles.
The floating candles in their paper balloons silently lifted, were pushed by a soft breeze as gently as you would push a baby in a swing, and rose into the dark Thai night, hovering above us then, still rising, swung westward chasing in their golden brightness the long set sun.
The perfect ending to our Thai visit. On to Bhutan!