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The travel journal of Mark Turcotte (Dec.06-Jan.07: Cambodia & Thailand)
The latest emails from my friend Mark Turcotte, reporting on his travels in Southeast Asia.
f. mark turcotte
Chong Fa Falls, Thailand
Along the path to Chong Fa Falls there are many so-called "sensitive" plants. (You see them for sale sometimes in stores.) One touch causes them to fold up their leaves; another causes them to droop their whole branch.
This reminds me of feelings..... that plants too, obviously have feelings......whether we are attuned to that or not. Touch them and they visually respond.
I consider that when touching another human being in this way, they too have feelings.....we communicate.....they feel our touch.
But English is sadly inadequate and deficient when it uses the same word...."feeling" for something completely different.
When another in their anger yells at me, we say, "He hurt my 'feelings' ". Beyond the small physical impact of the souynd vibrations on one's middle and inner ear (which is much less than normal traffic or a rock concert), the hurt comes not from the sound vibrations, but rather one's own self-generated thoughts about the content of what was said.
Instead of saying, "He hurt my "FEELINGS", it would be more accurate to say, "He prompted my "THOUGHTLINGS", and because of them, I chose to feel hurt".
How much easier it is to give away our power and the opportunity to own these "THOUGHTLINGS" of ours. Easier to blame the other whom we often do not understand, claiming, "He hurt my feelings".
Hat Khao Lak, Thailand
f. mark turcotte
It's a bit strange seeing a 75' police boat nearly one mile from the shore here in Hat Khao Lak, Thailand. It came to rest and remains here as a reminder of the devastating tsunami 2 yrs. ago. This area was very hard hit. Many died and disappeared.
Almost every thing has been re-built or is in process. This area certainly doesn't lack economic/tourist activity, and that for me is something to conssider.
I have visited pristine remnants of the original Thai tropical forest nearby and they are stunningly beautiful. Sadly, most of that has been cut down and converted to mono-culture palm or rubber tree plantations. So away from the cities and towns, the landscape though green, is hardly a community of flora and fauna.
Towns however are also not "green". They overflow with a different kind of tsunami..... a surefit (sp.?) of Swedish, German, Dutch, English and occasionally American tourists, all in search of a few weeks of tropical paradise.
Knowing the weather in those parts of Europe, it's easy to understand why they come here. They can "afford" it; (and so can I).
But this begs a larger question:
Forgetting for the moment the community of other living non-humans......insects, birds, trees, fish, bacteria, etc........ if almost all the people involved, that is, foreign tourists, bankers (who lubricate the economic process) and locals (who want to live like Europeans) want to destroy an Eden-like paradise and convert it into a noisy, garish and polluted strip mall..... is that a problem?
It has been alleged by some (among others Derrick Jensen in his book ENDGAME) that this kind of voracious consumption by so-called "civilized" people will end in due course..... consciously or unconsciously..... the sooner, the better. Regardless of the democratic will of the majority of people, Mother Nature will in the endl have her way, because what's happening now is unsustainalble.
In the meantime, it's getting hot and I need to get to the beach.
f. mark turcotte
Part of my on-going parade of Christmas gifts is the magic of discovery.... a new multii-colored bird...... a bit of exotic music wafting through the night air.....something at once strange, yet beautiful.
Two days ago I had arrived on the small remote island of Koh Russei, otherwise known as Bamboo Island. My home was a simple wooden bungalow complete with mosquito net, which as it turned out, seemed unnecessary.
Here, there were only a few visitors, and as they say..... the deserted beach stretched on and on.
After settling in, I met new friends from Mardrid and were off on a jungle path to explore the other side of the island. What we found there was altogether amazing.......because as we walked along the beach, there was this, this....."squeaking" sound. What was it ?
Not some creature hidden below or above in the trees...... but the sand itself ! It sounded not unlike that made by gym shoes on a wooden basketball court! I've never heard anything like it, before or since.
Later on, the next morning, while walking on the beach, I found a small, perfectly formed spiny whelk seashell under the casuarina pines and coconut palms.
These little gems of foreign essence ..... be they human, cultural or geophysical are the ephemeral stuff of my travels.
Mark Happy New Year
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