“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bangkok Aerobics

Earlier this evening, I left my bag on the bed, tucked all my money and my room key into my bra and hopped on the back of a motorcycle taxi to try out the Thai phenomenon: group sports. The taxi driver misunderstood Lumpini Park (the Park) as Lumbini Park (an appartment complex), but after a detour to the same place twice, we were on the right route. What a hair-raising journey! The driver warned me to tuck my knees in--and I was very concious of the fact that not a bit of fabric was protecting them as I sucked in for car mirrors and doors, people, taxis, and cars. We wove in and out trying to beat the traffic, and almost came close a couple of times to some grazed knees--what an injury to explain! Very vulnerable but exciting! I got to the park, had a jog, and then I found them: 100 or so women doing aerobics in the park! The tourists come and take pictures of their craziness, but I must admit it makes so much more sense than being cramped in a small room with mirrors. So I huffed and puffed and likely turned as red as a watermelon. The sun slowly descended behind the high rises and the traffic built up as rush hour progressed around us. The sky turned a beautiful blue and the city lights came on above the trees. After it was done, I wandered back through the park -- in what other major cities could you be in a park after dark?! -- and caught another motorcycle taxi back home again. This one had no speedometer (I checked), but we were going fast enough that if there had been a crash, there would have been serious damage done. I simply closed my eyes and felt the wind rush past, and smiled at the tourists in the taxi next to me. I closed my eyes and emphasized my faith. Not necessarily faith in the driver, or in the motorbike, or in the traffic around me, or in the laws of Thailand to ensure that drivers' licensing is safe and sufficient, but in life. I really enjoy feeling that faith. It's not faith that I'm going to live (or die). It's just faith that what will be will be. It's faith in fate. If I am meant to crash, so be it, but I will have faith that things have their purpose and it all happens for a reason.

Okay, a bit too psychological there. But have you ever just let go like that?

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