Happy new year!

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Saturday, January 2, 2010

As soon as I rested
my eyes on this image at yahoo news this morning, it evoked great sadness in me
for human kind and I knew I would be writing this little piece and posting the
image today. This is not really the time or place for it, but then again, when
actually is it? And I’ve tormented myself in whether or not I should post this.
I decided I would, because if it can just make one one person stop and contemplate for even just one second then it's OK.

Staring at this
image of Shiite Muslim worshippers, stained by their own blood from self inflicted wounds, holding knives during the festival of Ashoura, when faithful show their grief over the 7th-century killing of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein, I see no hope for human kind so long as religion exists on earth. In my
opinion it is the bane of our existence. It is divisive, destructive and
delusional. I’ll coin it the “D3”. (insert my only humor here). Have we
advanced or evolved to anything in the last 5000 years? I don’t believe we
have, someone please show me the concrete evidence, for we have mountains of information that proves
otherwise to the contrary. We appear to just be as primitive and barbaric in our
actions today as we probably were when we started to walk upright on two legs. And maybe that's not even being fair to our ancestors. We may be a
species of great creativity, of love and ingenuity, but emotionally, we are
just plainly, confused. I cannot even begin to imagine the millions of deaths
caused in the name of religion over the hundreds of generations since language
communication originated. Organized religion has proven no beneficial
contributions to society (that is rationally argumentative). I can only convey
it as a virus of the mind, instilled early in life by our families, our
communities and later as adults, with our own bias ego’s, in accepting Bronze
age mythology, perhaps without questioning or searching for other rational,
established knowledge’s. I suspect in large credits this is due to the respect
and customary gratitude we have for our parents, families and our customs in
carrying on the family traditions of religions. I understand that yes, most are
just moderates in their religion, however, moderate is a stepping stone to the
next level of extreme. At some point the extremist was also a moderate even if
only for a day. I just truly believe the human species is best served with no
religion whatsoever. It should be the next chapter in the evolution of human
growth and advancement. Let’s not confuse religion with the topic of god and
spirituality. That is a whole other topic altogether and I believe a person can
believe what they want about their own existence and where they go when they
die and so on, but to preach and impose one’s own position upon others,
especially our own offspring, that is then, still a form of religion.

As many of you know
I could go on and on about this for days, but this is where I’ll stop now. I’ve
said my bit and I'll leave it at that. These are my thoughts, not yours, to quote a
famous News Anchorman and I hope I haven’t offended anyone including some of my
closest friends and family as I love you all and respect all of you.

I have good news.
The 2000 pictures are confirmed deleted from my computer, but they were saved
on my external, portable hard-drive, just as I thought they should have been!!
They were just hiding in hidden file that I couldn’t see until I found them.
Sorry for prematurely hitting the panic button. I am relieved, to say the

OK so I should have
started today’s blog off with a
“HAPPY NEW YEAR’S”. Mine was
somewhat uneventful, I spent most of the evening reading my book, “Stuck
Between A Rock and A Hard Place”, by Aron, Ralston. He is an exceptional outdoorsman who
had his arm unbelievably stuck under a large bolder in Utah and eventually had to cut
it off himself using only a small pocket blade. It’s a great read if you think to
get a copy. However, at midnight I left the confines of my mosquito net to
venture outside to see what I could find in the sky. All day long the Thai
people had been blasting explosives into the atmosphere and it got
progressively louder and more frequent as the midnight hour approached, with at
least one big blast on average per second all night until midnight when it
sounded like I was in the middle of enormous battle field, where the blasts
sounded like bombs going off all around me. When I walked down the stairs to
the ground level of my bungalow I looked up and was in awe. All around me there
were thousands of paper lanterns in the sky with fire burning inside, giving
them their loft and slowly and gently sailing them upwards like miniature hot
air balloons. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed in
the sky at night, perhaps the best all time. I quickly scooted up the stairs and
retrieved my camera and snapped off a few images, the ones you see now. I could
never have duplicated the actual image on film that of which I saw myself in real life, and the
photos you see now are not that great, but at least you get the picture J

I don’t really know
why it takes so long for cuts to heal here, even tiny superficial ones that
don’t even bleed, but I must tell you, it’s very annoying. It is one of the
main reasons why I have not done much here in Pai, other than eat, sleep, read and take pictures. I have three cuts on my feet and I can only wear flip flops, but oh it's nice to be in flips as opposed to winter boots!! It’s actually kind of nice just doing this, it’s healthy
down-time. I even managed to watch a live Flames game VS Edmonton this morning,
and as broken up as the signal was, I quite enjoyed watching them defeat

Perhaps I’ve said
too much…. Or not enough, nonetheless, I’m outta here. Thank you for reading and again, happy new year!


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Troy's baby sister on

Happy New Year's to you too Troy the boy!! I have thought of you often over the Christmas holidays and wish you all the best on your adventures. I really loved the pictures of the lanterns, so cool! I love that they take such pride in their celebrations there. Here we just blow a horn and drink lol. hahaha

I personally don't get offended in the least when people share their views on organized religion. You, as always, have very valid points. We humans are indeed still very barbaric and I wonder sometimes where we are headed. Even though I am spiritual, I don't believe in an organized religion, and I definitely won't be forcing my children to believe what I believe. I think I will leave it up to them to decide whatever they want when they are older. I will, however, mention what different people believe and that it's okay for us all to have different opinions on things. I hate it when people force their children into things kind of like brainwashing. I do believe in the forces of good and evil, and I hope that they will come to realize that doing good and being kind will get you further in life than evil ever would. I respect that force that I feel is out there, whatever it may be. You are a good example...just because you don't believe in religion doesn't mean you have the right to do evil things in this world or make it an excuse to behave poorly to others. You can still be a good person and be kind without expecting a place in "heaven" or looking for some award for it after you die. You do it because you have love and appreciation in your heart for nature, earth, and it's creatures.


gymwhite on

Thanks for sharing your travels in Thailand. I have been there many times in June but never in December. I is nice to hear the different perspectives. I know how much work it is to keep up a travel blog. I have not done so my last few years. Selfish I guess.

Jessy on

Hey Troy - Well written blog. The picture you took is a powerful image of religion in it's worst light. Keep on updating us. I have enjoyed keeping track of your adventures. Happy New Year Troy.

Hugs and kisses


Vinnyboom on

Hey Babies!!
Glad to hear that you did not lose the photos!
Thanks for the image of the wires on the power pole. If okay with you, I will add that one to my website when you get back.

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