Trip Start Nov 02, 2007
Trip End May 31, 2008

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, December 14, 2007

Apparently I'm not a good tourist (and when i looked at a map of thailand i realised that i have indeed only been to about 0.5% of its landmass).  But I'm feeling the culture, from the inside; been doing lots of research by having lots of massages - wasn't quite prepared for the full-ness of the 'full body thai oil massage', but it was quite a thrill.  Good job too as I leave the physical realm to pursue the spiritual tommorrow - off to the woods to meditate with the monks for xmas (  Have to be there before 8am so wanted to get a quick update in before I go ... unfortunately seemed like a good idea to get a couple of beers in before i did the update.. hhmm. 
Looking forward to the meditating - and to be honest it will avoid the xmas lurch of being on my own (I did think momentarily of joining the many backpackers who are heading south to Ko Phangnan for the full moom party on xmas eve, but buckets of red bull aren't really for me)
Had some great encounters this week; jewellery making for a day (will send pics of my ring soon :O) and a great 2 days of learning foot massage.  Found out that a tuk-tuk costs just 200,000 baht new (about 2600 pounds) so maybe i'll return to the UK overland.  But the Wat is holding my attention and think it's more up my street. 
Had to get some supplies in in preparation (unlike 2 years ago, i haven't filled my rucksack with drinking yogurt and snacks), this time 11 lotus flowers, 11 orange candles, 11 incense sticks, white clothes, white shawl and white underwear ... if you ever want to experience the worst in Thai service, go buy a bra.  They didn't stop me entering the shop, but they didn't help me either.  As Thai women are petite and flat chested on the whole, anything other than a padded training bra is out of the question ... the monks will have to suffer my purple and pink numbers.
The massage will go on a back burner - some will pleased to hear this.  During one of the last days at massage school, and after a particularly spicy Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) the night before, i could clench no longer and excused myself for letting a loud trump taint the atmosphere of learning.  There are a set of moves to 'open the wind gate'; blocks in the flow of prana or life energy (no, really i kid you not).  My classmates and I laughed behind the teachers backs about saving my partner the effort of opening my windgate.  So I was a little worried when I read in the introductory handbook to the Wat: "NIBBANA (Nirvana): the final goal, the extinction of all defilements and sulfering".  Heck, no opening my windgates over the festive period ...
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I'll be trying my best not to think about you, instead focussing on the rise and fall of my tummy with my breath.  I'm sure some of you will also be mindful of your tummies ... have a mince-pie for me and i'll mail you interesting insights as soon as i can.
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