Breakfast drama

A peaceful quiet morning in Pai, I am having a stuffed veggie omelette for breakfast. A hang-around dog is peacefully sleeping next to me. A cheeky cat walks nearby, recognizes me as a cat-friendly person, changes its direction and without further ado jumps on the table to have some of my omelette. I like cats, but not as much as to allow them to eat from my plate. The cat is firmly removed from the table and a piece of omelette is thrown on the floor. Now the dog wakes up to life, sees the injustice and starts barking at the cat. The cat stops eating, looks at the dog and freaks out a bit. Another dog hears the bark, approaches us and sits near the cat. This is a little bit too much for the cat. The cat gets into aggressive mode, gets her hair stood end and tail fluffed, starts spitting and clearly shows that the food is hers. One dog barking, the cat freaking out and another dog just sitting nearby just if it minds its own business. All accompanied by the peaceful Pai atmosphere. This drama goes on for some time, but eventually the second dog leaves and the first dog stops its bark. The cat finishes the omelette and without showing signs of gratitude leaves the crime scene. The first dog gets to lick the plate and then goes back to sleep. Peace is restored.

Becoming a yogi

No, I have not got certified as a yoga teacher, but the transformation is more subtle – my possessions slowly leave me by giving away, losing and breaking. Whether I like it or now. At some point in Yangshuo I took a look at my beloved hoodie and made a realization that I had had for many years and maybe, just maybe it is time for a new one. Bah, the next day it is gone. No idea where or how. Same fate waited for my faux Billabong swimming shorts, which I had had for more than six years. They were still in one piece, but I got this idea in the back of my mind that all things come to their end sooner or later. Approximately one month later they were gone. Again, no idea where or how. Just gone. Mono no aware in action. A microfiber towel left me at some point too (I did not like colours anyway). After several unsuccessful tries to find a similar towel in Thailand and Malaysia, I eventually replaced it with a sarong, which is much more versatile and useful than a towel. My Lumix LX5 camera fell victim to sea water and eventually got replaced by Canon Powershot S95, which coincidentally I like much more. I lost two water/tea bottles, both in Thailand. It is most certainly not a time or a place for drinking tea here. Singapore greeted me with a loss of one Haglöfs shoe. They were securely attached to my backpack, but somehow when I made it to the hostel, I could not find one of the shoes. I bought them last summer or more like it felt like we found each other. Heavily discounted, my favorite colors, last pair and just my size. One of the most comfortable shoes I have ever used in fact. No blisters at any point too. They will be surely missed. The last in the series of losses is a broken blade of Leatherman Skeletool. I was opening a coconut with Skeletool yesterday and some point the blade just snapped in two. An interesting thing that I experienced no anger, no regret or no disappointment of any kind. No reaction at all in fact, just silent observation of the fact. The most important thing that I got the coconut opened and if to believe a local restaurant owner I am of the few persons who got a coconut open with an ordinary knife. Even though it cost me a broken blade. Fair game I guess.

So there you go all this damage in the span of almost five months. I used to think that I know how to take care of my things, but travelling in this mode seems to be very destructive. Looking back at the history of my stuff, I got this idea that most of lost things I did not like that much or did not need, so in a way they did me a favor by finding a new owner. The only regret is the shoes, but it might be a blessing in disguise which I cannot yet see. The time will tell.

The power of asking

Today at Borders in Singapore, when paying for an origami book.

Cashier: “Do you have a Borders membership card?”
Me: “No, but can I have a 10% discount anyway?”
“No” and after a few seconds in a hush voice “Ok, I’ll give it to you anyway”

A few moments later I noticed a package of chewing gum on the cashier’s desk

“Isn’t chewing gum banned in Singapore?”
“Yes, but I use it anyway. Want some?”
“Yeah, sure”

Communication is good.