It is time to part with the Pumpkins; Y. moves to the South (Cambodia), L. heads to the North (China), Kitty R. and Sir Last move to the West (towards Thailand).
Warning. Today’s post will strongly sound like a Kitty Coelho thingy, that is, full of philosophical clichés about what a journey means to her. She has promised to write about it, you know… After all Kitty R., does not force anyone to read it; for example, you can immediately jump to the video below and thus tick off the whole thing. Or, instead of all that, just go for a walk in the park, it’s great too or even better. Anyway…
Traveling for Kitty R. means not only developing passions (visual arts) but as well struggling with the theme of death and getting used to the fact of passing away one day. Nothing lasts forever and this is unquestionable, but sometimes it is difficult to reconcile with this unavoidable situation. And here comes the journey.
There are moments during the journey when Kitty R. experiences a wave of inner emotion, when she feels unbelievably happy and thinks that if she was to die, it would be nothing terrifying or terrible. Of course, it would be nice to live a long time as there are still lots of things to do in this life, to grab a whole lot of new opportunities, like experiencing motherhood or just become an old lady. In the case of the latter, one could then experience _what the journey becomes and what one thinks about when going on a Mekong boat during a several-month journey, alone after the death of their husband, at the age of 71 _ (true story about a traveller encountered by Kitty R., because it’s not just the young ‘magic shake’ lovers who fancy themselves in Asia, but also wonderful, perky women). Or in another experience have a large garden full of flowering fruit trees planted years before on your own. Many things are just a matter of making decisions and dealing with the consequences.
For Kitty R., these moments of unbelievable happiness and other emotions have been happening for several nice years now and most often during a journey. And Laos is a really good place for that! She feels so much in the right place and time that it brings her peace and full acceptance of human transitoriness, including her own.
And you? When did you last cry beacuse of incredible happiness? He he.
The journey allows Kitty R. to look at everything a little differently, from a different angle. The problems of life such as bills, taxes, work or loss of a loved one are reduced to caring for the basis of existence: where to sleep today? What to eat? Am I safe? Life on the go is firmly embedded within the Here and Now. And that is the thing that Kitty R. responds to very well, because life limited to these grounds of survival allows her to look at many issues from a distance, and thus find new solutions and establish a personal hierarchy of values.
In the meantime, Kitty R’s range of norms also changes. Driving on a motorcycle to a shopping store, spitting or sniffing without the use of tissues, eating with an open mouth? Standard. Taking children with you, day by day to work or running a shop literally in the middle of your own home? Standard. Very often in South-East Asia the boundary between work and home does not exist at all. In a pharmacy Kitty R. asks for an antihistamine ointment for insect bites, the lady pharmacist just got her little baby to sleep, so Kitty R. must wait until the infant is gently put away in the bed situated in the middle of the pharmacy until she is served. Talking, Kitty R. and the Pharmacist-Mother whisper not to wake up the baby. Standard.
And in general about children and death. One woman in Vietnam said: here people try to have many children, as they accept the fact that not every child will live till old age. It is also security for their own old age, as there are no pensions; the young take care of their parents and grandparents. Someone has to. Standard.
In South East Asia Kitty R. values the ability of people to take a nap no matter where they are. In roadside innings for drivers, very often, instead of tables and chairs, there are a dozen or more hammocks hanging. Standard. Equally interesting is the approach to singing, this is done by everyone everywhere, often without any music skills, ie cruelly out of tune. Is it sometimes not more important to distance yourself and to have the ability to have fun with your friends than just knowing the melodic line? (Is it not the same thing when Kitty R. blogs and does photography?)
As if that was not enough, in 6 months Kitty R. managed to make only two appointments on the hour (one with the Austrian in January at 12.00, to visit together Bangkok, and the second time at 18.00 in Vietnam to meet an Englishman for a pint). On a journey the concept of time is completely blurred, it is not known what time it is, what the day of the week or even a month is. And the question as to how old you are becomes unimportant, as in fact it does not carry any specific information anymore.
Two days Kitty R. and Sir Last spend on a beautiful wooden boat, gently rocking them to sleep, writing this text and to looking at the green riverbank (if this is how it looks like in the dry season, it is scary to ask Mother Nature what she is doing here with plants in the rainy season !?).
Kitty R. and Sir Last reach the border with Thailand, so enough of this philosophizing for Kitty R. Time for more adventures!
Meanwhile, Kitty R. thanks Laos for it’s beauty, hospitality and the simplicity of life around the Mekong River. In her heart, Laos love has come forever!
For it’s part, Laos bids farewell to Kitty R. and Sir Last with a storm and thunderbolts. On the last night in Laos Kitty R. go out of the hostel room to the corridor with the thought of making a photo of the thunderstorm, ‘because it’s so beautiful when lightning brightens up the sky and highlights the palms bending from the windstorm’, and then … well, the bolt almost hits her. See for yourself.