“Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.”
– Hal Borland
The time has finally come for my summer to draw to a close. Bangkok has whizzed past in a blur of alcohol and cheap massages.
I’m not viewing my homecoming as the end, per say, more like a new start in a different place. To be perfectly honest I’d been looking forward to escaping the omnipotent smell of fish sauce.
Khao San Road – great spot for a big of haggling over typical backpacker goodies: baggy clothes, jewellery, pirated dvds etc etc
Don’t be alarmed – it’s not me. Sandra, my Mexican room mate, decided on a, slightly clichéd, visit to one of the multiple Bangkok tattoo parlours.
As has come to be a habit when visiting new cities, I took a trip to the National Art Gallery. It was in pretty bad condition; It appeared of going through some sort of construction work, with most of the building empty. However there was an inspiring little exhibition in an odd set-up outside of the main building. I was rather taken with a duo of intricate and lively collages by a man called Sittichoke Wichian entitled ‘Living Ways, Bonds and Happiness’. Here’s one of the two:
Below is another piece which caught my eye as it reflected the craftsmanship that’s typical throughout South East Asia – silk weaving. It depicts a series of poses of a shrouded nun, through gaps in the indigo silk work.
I’ve also tried to make the most of the fantastic street food in the last few days. My staple diet of curry, pad thai, Mango sticky rice and tofu stir fry extended into breakfast. Here’s my eight a.m tofu green curry!
I have to admit though, birds eye chillies in a green curry first thing in the morning are not so easy on the stomach.
I’m still not entirely won over by Bangkok, being a little put off by the overly aggressive approach of some of the vendors and the slight sketchy feeling you get from certain places at night time. However, I can’t deny that it’s a fun place to visit. It’s particularly great at the end of a trip as you can stock up on souvenir’s and $10 full body massages before heading back to reality. In my case, the return was a lavish three day journey, the highlight being the night spent on the stone floor of Mumbai airport.
Needless to say, it’s good to be home. It was a bit of a shock to the system to descend into the freezing grey ‘mizzle’ but as Steinbeck wisely puts it in his ‘Travels with Charley‘ “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” I’m heading out on a whole new adventure in a few short days as I move up to London to finally re-start university. This is by no means the end – more like a respite from excessing moving about the place – with any luck there will be many more summers to come so WATCH THIS SPACE!
I really want to thank-you all for being such a huge support to me throughout this adventure – I really do appreciate it more than I can say. I’ll leave you with a quote from the brilliant Albert Camus as I attempt to descend once again into the charted waters of the bitter cold. Let’s hope the unpleasant days of the 2011 winter, the last one that I was around to experience, are behind me.
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”