All the pleasures of the world

Sunday Walking StreetAt the moment, my life in Thailand is very much geared on pleasure, and very sensual pleasures at that – every sense is invoked: seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, hearing. So my days are spent very pleasureably, with plenty of eating out, carousing with friends, exploring the city, shopping, visiting markets (such as the Sunday Walking Street – pictured left is a monk I spotted last week), cooking, watching lots of tv, planning trips etc – no wonder it sometimes feels like I am on permanent vacation. The only intellectual pursuits I have are learning Thai, a little bit of reading and writing, and of course, work. But going to work is pretty great and I really like my job. My only real complaint is that I’m working at all, and not yet chasing my dream of being a writer.

One of the new arrivals here was saying that she wants to try and find some volunteer work to do, otherwise weekends here are all about spending money and going out. And it’s easy to fall into that trap but after almost three months here I don’t feel the need to do things too differently just yet. Except for making more time to write, exercising more and eating healthier. I have some action packed weeks ahead. Like this weekend we’re all planting trees on Saturday, and my boss’ wedding is on Sunday; and next weekend, we’re getting a bunch of people together to watch the World Cup at an expat bar in the city (Australia v. Ghana)…and last but not least, I’ve decided to have a birthday party! More about that soon.

It’s nice to just have lots of fun for a change because I feel like I’ve been working hard for a long time. But I’ll switch back to my default workaholic position soon. I’m pretty conscious of the fact that I have plenty of projects to occupy my time on the weekends which I haven’t gotten around to yet. And apparently there is a Thai version of Lifeline which is also accessed by foreigners…so I may volunteer for that too, though I have decided that I will make myself resist the pull of extracurricular activities until next year. For example, I had started getting names together for a book group but I think I’ll take a step away from that and let someone else take the reins.

But speaking of pleasure…getting a massage should be all about pleasure, right? So you’d think, but it wasn’t so on Monday night. I’d left my first proper Thai massage so late into my stay that by the time I had one my back was in pretty bad shape and the massage was more than a little painful. I went to a fantastic massage place near work called Nimman House and it was beautifully decorated with Lanna (Northern Thai) style furnishings. I ended up with a very stout, maternal woman for a masseuse, with strong arms and hands who looked like she has very capably reared a couple of children. But every time she kneaded too strongly into my back I actually yelped in pain…and by the end of the hour long session I felt considerably lighter and less knotted. As a nice way to end that occasion, the hot pandan flavoured tea I was given afterwards to sip in the ambient surroundings went down a real treat.

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