The Bazars of Bangkok

Let’s go people watching and see what we can discover, as that is, always fun, isn’t it???  Translated…

I really loved the bazaars.  My very first experience of bazaars was in England, every weekend, I’d taken the busses, headed out to the various bazaars to shop around.  The secondhand classic clothes looked just like the drama costumes, each and every one of them cost a lot, back then I’d realized, that the good things really beats out the time, the cottons from the dresses that cost a lot never flurried up, and the color, never fade, with the higher waist lines, very straight, without the rough lines of the shoulders, totally showed off the attractiveness of a woman’s form.

Later I’d gone to Japan, and noticed how the culture never lets anything go to waste, it’d given the preowned furniture pieces new life, I’d gone to Norway saw how the culture was connected with the everyday things, seeing how those items lost their characteristics of being replaced easily.  Later on, no matter where I’d traveled to, I’d made my way to the bazars, I don’t necessarily need to buy anything, but I’d taken a lot of time, observing what the locals were, buying up.

a place that looked like this???  Photo from online…the food section…

The gigantic bazar of Bangkok is very well-known, but it couldn’t captivate my interests, I’d walked past the couture, and gone straight to the furniture section at the back, and in the end, my interests peaked as I got into the food stands that mingled within the shops and stands, as well as the massage booths too.  My friends and I didn’t get anything, we’d ran from the center of the city, all the way to the edge, found a foot massage place, and readied ourselves, for the two-hour sessions.

I’d found a spot close to the windows, lain myself down comfortably.  There’s a beer joint on the street, with a small group of three, singing their hearts out, the customers, cramped up inside that small space, with their ice cold beers in hand.  On the other side, there was a traditional Thai food place, although it’s past the noon hours, there’s, no vacancy.  There was also a café/exhibit nearby, looking in, I can see, that there was this oil of the emperor of Thailand hung behind the bars, with a small round table by the door, the few older men who were sitting there became, the tourist attraction for me for the two hours I got my massage.

They looked over fifty, and yet, they had on shirts with cartoon prints, with the shiny, bedazzled belts, their heavy boots, with their tattoos showing from their semi-rolled up sleeves, some had bandanas, others had ponytails, standing or sitting, smoking from time to time, sipping at their black coffees.  Several groups of people took up that spot, from the same cohort, as I can observe, with their cartoon print shirts, neatly, tucked in, their shiny belts showing, one of the men, had two children ages of seven or eight, the children greeted the other men shyly.  The little boy ran into the café, the girl with a small plastic bag, standing in the middle of the street, swaying, one of the middle-aged man gave up his seat for her, she’d smiled and shaken her head, he’d not insisted either, puffed out smoke toward the skies.

the home furnishings section…photo from online…

I’d heard, that some directors would find their next performers from the streets, but this was the very first time I was so intrigued by the act of people-watching, that it’d captivated my attention for so long.  I’d not just looked at them, I’d described the scenes to my friends, and added in the dialogues too, it’d made my friend laugh.  The lady who was massaging her didn’t know why she was cracking up, and just laughed along with her.  My friend told me, “It is like enjoying a movie, while getting a massage”.  And, I’m thinking, that all the stories inside those individuals must be, even more interesting than what we see in the movies.

Ahhh, this, is the joys of people watching, you get to observe what they’re doing, without intruding in their lives, at their most natural states, being themselves, living their daily lives, and to the observers, everything these individuals did feels so intriguing, interesting, but to these “performers” who are unaware that they were being watched, they’re just, living in their ordinary routines.

and there’s, this, also from online…a small place where you can shop for the souvenirs…photo from online still…


Enjoying Being an Elderly Backpacker, Life in the Elderly Years

Realizations about you and your parents, now that they’re, elderly, translated…

The only season I feel leisurely is in the springtime, and so, I’d made a date with my parents over eighty years of age, that we shall, head out to travel every single springtime.  In recent years, we’d selected the self-help trips to Japan, my father who was educated by the Japanese spoke fluently, and said that it’s, as if, he’d found the younger version of himself that’s worked at the Japanese trading companies again, that he’d wanted to be a backpacker, plan out his own trips, enriching his own life.

Last year, we’d gone to Setouchi, and drove around, one day we’d spent the afternoon, underneath the olive trees by the beach, my dad suddenly told me, he’d not felt this leisurely for sixty years.  My father started a business from the ground, and worked hard for the family’s economics; several years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and my eldest brother who was just over forty had a stroke, and the family spent years in misery afterwards.  Pops told me, from before, he’d thought that having daughters is a cost, and he’d harshly disciplined my eldest sister and I hard, but now, looking at us, he’d felt, that he’d been, too strict toward us back then.

sharing these cherished moments togehter on trips they’d shared, not my photograph…

From when we were younger, my sister had I had, complained of how harshly we were treated by him, that he’d favored our brother more than us.  Although my father didn’t marry down to my mother’s family, but my older brother and youngest brother took my mother’s family last name, and perhaps it’s because of this, my dad demanded more of my older sister and I; in order to show ourselves, we’d both believed, that whether it be in school, or at work, we shouldn’t, lose to the boys, and I’d heard my father’s talking about that that day, and, it’s, as if all those years of misunderstanding, got, resolved instantly.

In my memories, we’d rarely gone out on overnight trips as a family, after all, our household finances are just breaking even, and the fees for the travels aren’t something small; and now, we’d gotten the abilities to take our parents on trips, and, on some levels, it’d, helped us make up for not going out together as a family when we were children.

a family vacation in progress here, not my photograph still…

As we’d gone on the New Japanese Railways from the north to the south, I watched my parents walking slowly on the platforms, it’d made me realized, how fast, they’re, aging; those adults who’d once, helped us walk, who’d held our bicycles still so we can keep our balances, they’re no longer, the adults who can help us out whenever we’re in trouble now; and, while they’re still mobile, I’d wanted to take them all over to travel, to make more memories of us together.

Not only just for my parents, I too, am slowly, marching toward the elderly years as well, and, I’d needed to, make my own adaptations accordingly.  I’d agreed with mom and dad, that every spring, we shall, go out, as elderly backpackers, and continued having these trips without the itineraries.

So, traveling with your aging parents made you realized, how little time you have left with them, which made you cherish each and every single moment all of you shared, and this made you realize, that you’d needed to, spend more time with your elderly parents, because nobody KNOWS how many more years they may have left, so, you’re, taking advantage of every moment you shared with your families.

Wind & Sand

The awe one felt, as he went visiting a place of grandeur made by nature’s hands, translated…

The wind passes through me, used the grains of sand and the valleys of Hexi, traded the time with the landscapes of Danxia.

My friend told me, that the scattering of the sand by the wind didn’t just vanish, it’d changed forms and materialized again.

I’d squatted down, looked at the wind as it moved, thought about if the roads I’d trekked down, belonged to someone else?  Could ti be you, my self in a past life?

I’d stood back up again, in front of that colorful rock formation, as if, returning to the beginning of chaos, staring into you, who’d become, the sand and the wind, hidden, within the layers of the accumulations, having endured through the eras of change, how burdensome it must be?  Especially as the Mother Earth found out about your existence, the crushing, the impacting that came afterwards, how thrilling it must’ve been?  And how sturdily you’d, kept your grounds.

And now I’m back.

風吹過我,用沙粒和河西走廊的丹霞地貌交換時間。朋友說,那風沙的逸散,並非消失...what the landscape looked like, photo from the papers…

I’d, examined all the wounds on you, as well as that, slowly, vanishing, memory.

I can’t help but wondered: Why the past life and this one?  And, to whom should I inquire this, and how would I, go about, asking?

You remained silent, with that peaceful look extending throughout your vast features, “the questions that the asking asks always can’t be answered.”

The dusts started settling down now.

I got back up, and continued, trekking onward.

So, this, is the experience you’d had, when you’re, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by this beautiful, majestic landscape, it’d made you wondered, who or what had the powers, to make this place look the way it does, and, you’d started asking questions of the existentialist sort, and that, is what being in the wilderness, near to nature can do to you, it’d, inspired you, to think about the origins of things.

The Findings on Her Trip to Bangkok

What she got, out of traveling abroad, and observing how the locals passed through their days, translated…

Starting last year, I’d wanted to travel abroad, from Germany, I’d thought about going to Vietnam, I’d originally planned to hike up to Jiaming Lake after work’s over, but because my body had something going on, I’d had to, cancel.  I’d wanted to travel to Thailand for three years already, and, as I thought on this, I’d, written this into my short stories.  My friend told me, let’s just go to Thailand this time, very relaxing.  All I thought about was, if it’s for a simple vacation, doing nothing, then, Bangkok would be the place to go.  Thailand, well, I’d, put that on hold.

That early morning as we arrived in Thailand, we couldn’t go to our suites in the morn yet, we’d gone out in the scorching sun, we’d still had some time to kill.  And, as we’d strolled, we’d, entered into the best café locally.

There were many chairs stacked up in the entry of the café, looked like those antique shops in Kyoto, with an old grocery shop next door, with a box of eggs, the red and the white next to each other, there were also the colorful snacks inside those plastic bottles, the elderly woman who’d owned the shop sat at the most distant corner of her store, with a fan in hand, fanning away, her toothless mouth seemed to be chewing on something.  I’m already, overcome with the heat waves now, the heat in Bangkok in June, as well as the rain in Taipei, both were, really awful.

As I pushed in the door of the shop, what hit my nostrils wasn’t the smell of the coffee, but the dired flowers.  In the narrowed shop, there were, dried flowers decorating the walls, and all over the floors too, then, there was, a wall covered in leather bicycle seat, with a black kitten with white paws.  In the depth of the shop, were bicycles, with the walls above the toilet in the bathrooms too.  I’d told my friend, if a sports fanatic opened up a café, then the coffees served there would totally be delicious.  My friend smiled and said that I played favorites.

The treats at the café were, made with care (but I still hadn’t figured out where the kitchen is), I usually only have the black coffees, but I couldn’t defeat the heat, and so, I’d, ordered up a glass of ice latte.  It’d been a very long time since I had ice latte, and that sort of a familiar milky taste, mixed with the coffee, it’d, livened me up instantly.  There were, so many choices for food too, I’d felt, that since I’m in Thailand, I’d needed to order a local food item, but, I still can’t help but ordered up a serving of blue cheese salad with that Thai-style fried rice.  Although I’m, very fatigued, but I’d still, cleaned off my plate.

On the ride back, we’d passed through a lot of amazing streets, and it’d made me want to get out of the cab and go for a strol.  But, in this chaotic state of my mind, would I be confused, that I was actually, away from Taiwan?  My friend asked, why is that after we’d arrived to a foreign city, we’d still looked hard, for that familiar cup of coffee with comfort?  I’d told her, that those independently owned shops, showed the clearest features of dreams.  Some of the features were blurry, some had lost heat, while others will continue to stay heated.  Living these smaller days, we’d just, selected an alternative attitude to life, so long as we put our hearts into it, we can always move those who come into our shops, and, living these regular days feel like blessings.  Every time I’d gone to a new city to visit, I’d really, put my heart and soul, into experiencing the local’s ways of life, and, these moments that I’d spent the days in ordinary ways, are usually, the times I’d savored very much of as I looked back.

So it’s not the grandiose sights you’d visited that impressed you, it’s the daily lives of these ordinary people of the cities you’d traveled to, and that, is what these trips are all about, realizing, that days are plain, but you can make them interesting, by becoming more observant to your surrounding environments.

a great way to enjoy your trips, by going to the local places, not my photograph…


The Imprints of Our Family, Summertime Memories

Making these precious memories together, translated…

Every year before summer vacation, we’d made a lot of plans ahead of time, every one of us has our separate goals, plans for the summertime, including reading lists, chores, talent classes, travel plans, etc., etc., etc.  And of these, the travel plans were, always made by us all as a family unit, this year, we’d used the summer, to ride our bicycles around the island, we got to know each and every city we’d passed through with our own feet.

photo from online…

Before the trip, we’d planned our itinerary, set up the training plans, started with the twenty kilometer a day, and we’d selected the fitting equipment, then, simulated the riding experiences, and practiced riding in the nighttime across the counties closer to home.  We’d also made a banner for this trip around the island, to place on our bicycles as we rode.

The kids couldn’t wait for the summer to get here, on the day we were set to head out, they’d waken up very early, at seven in the morn, we’d set out on this around-the-island challenge.

with the routes, mapped out…from online…

All the way, we’d bumped into countless number of hardships, riding seventy kilometers a day caused us fatigued, and, with the practice riding every single day, our bodies adapted to this scheduling.  What’s most precious was, every time someone wanted to quit, the rest of us would show support and give assistance.  This trip had made us more closely knitted, we got to know the land, the people, with each step we took together, we’d challenged that 30-kilometers continuous uphill ride, screamed into the open oceans at the Southern Loop Highways, “Shouka, Challenges, complete!”  The support from the riders we’d bumped into on the way were unforgettable.  The beautiful scene from the Hualien-Taidong 193rd County Highways were breathtaking, and, we got the chance, to bear witness to the beauties of the land, to see the city under the darkness of the night………

The memories we’d come to share for these ten days, we’d savored them as a family, the ins and outs of our days, we’d, marked down with words, and drawings too, and, we’d sorted through these captured memories as we returned home, and gotten it made into a memory book.  Even as the summer ended, this imprint that belonged, uniquely to us as a family, will forever, stay in our hearts, minds, and memories.

keeping riding forwadx, toward this trip around the island by bicycle…photo from online…

This is on making memories, and, it is important, that you get into the habits of sharing the memories with your young, because they’re not going to stay young forever, and, if you don’t take every moment you shared together like they’re the last, then, you would’ve realized, how much you’d, missed out on as you looked back through the years one day not far in the future, and you’d be, filled with regrets of what we could’ve done differently, way back when………

Long Holiday, on Filial Relations

Taking this opportunity, to spend some quality time you’re your aging parents, translated…
Last July, I was laid off, without a warning by the company I’d worked in for ten years, went to work at nine in the morn, but, returned back to the bus stop at ten, I was hit so hard, by this sudden situation, not knowing what I’m to do with my life now.
After ten days, my stressed out mind slowly, returned back to its calmed state again, and that, made me start reviewing everything in my life more seriously, and slowly, I’d worked, to adjust my mindset of a regular nine-to-fiver, and moved back in with my parents once more.
I’m not among the marchers of ants that rushed out at the sound of the alarms onto the busses now, instead, I’d waken up early in the morns, accompanied my mother to the park for her exercises, and, because of me being there, dad finally got a breather from taking care of my immobilized mother, and got the chances to go with his tai chi group to the rural areas for short trips, and, would bring home some of the produces he bought on his trips. And, he no longer showed that look of unwillingness from being kept at home to look after my mother every single day now, he’d become, more lively, and, the arguments he’d had with mom reduced considerably, even mom started joking about how she’d felt less annoyed by him being there for her to see 24/7.
Every couple of days, I’d gone shopping with mom at the local marketplaces, and bought an assortment of fresh produces, seafoods, and discussed with her what everybody wants to have for the meals, and as I returned home, I can just, wait for the dishes to get made and start chowing down. And, I’d encouraged my dad who’d stopped going to the theatres to have movie date nights with my mother too, then I’d discussed the outrageous and unbelievable scripts in the movies, and dad said to me proudly, that he’s now, the movie-know-it-all amongst all of his friends!去年七月,被任職十年的公司無預警資遣,九點上班但十點半就又走回公車站牌,被這突發...illustration from the papers…
Recently, I’d taken them out to English style afternoon tea (dad was closely observing the way the racks were set up, and studied how the foods were supposed to be savored by order), we drank an assortment of coffees (although they still don’t understand what caramel macchiato is), and stood in line with them, to buy that hottest sort of snacks (mom didn’t know the difference between the macaroons and the chocolate chip cookies), and I’d taken them to the youth markets at Dihua Streets and Huashan too (they can’t understand how it was, that the toys they’d played with in childhood are now, sold at such high prices), although they’d mingled in with a group of members of younger generations, my parents were still, quite entertained. I’d suddenly discovered, that the measures my friends and I took to relax ourselves were actually, quite foreign to my parents, and so, I’d taken them to the karaoke bars to sing, and my dad was in awe, and commented on how the stereos, the sound systems were, way better than what they had at the community center. I’m sure that had the owner of the karaoke bar heard, he’d be, so proud!
After taking my parents along for our ventures in the city for a couple of months, I’d still gone with the flows of things, returned back to work, and, treated this no-notice unemployment period as a long-holiday I’d shared with my parents, feels great!
So, after you’d gotten laid off, you’d needed things to distract your minds, and so, you’d gone back home, to help care for your aging parents, you’d shown them the outside world, gotten them more involved in socializing with the outside world, took them on adventures, made them less trapped by their lives, and at the same time, you’d had the opportunities to have some quality time with them too.

The One Adult with Two Young Children, Venturing to White River, These Summertime Memories

Road trip, YAY, us!!!  Translated…

We had lived and worked in Taipei for almost twenty years, and this summer, we finally spared a month’s vacation time to head back to my home in Tainan for a long stay, and the two monkeys on their summer vacation were also, very excited over this heading home trip.

It’s not yet mid-June, we’d already, set up the trip by bus and by walking, and not drive, this sort of an adventurous arrangement, it’d gotten the little monkeys all excited, ready for their summertime adventures.

在台北生活了近二十年,今年夏天終於挪出一個月的假期可以回台南老家長住,兩隻放暑假...illustration from the papers…

And so, on a non-weekend morn, we’d arrived at the White River bus station for the start of this visit to the realm of lotuses.  There were only a handful of elderly waiting in the station, they were very interested in the three of us, outsiders; as I’d asked the bus station attendant, where we can go to see the lotuses, these older gents and ladies were all very helpful to us, and, the little monkeys got immersed in the Taiwanese discussions so suddenly, although they couldn’t understand everything that was said, but, they were both, becoming more and more excited.

Waited until we’d taken the advice of the station manager, and walked over, the little monkeys started running around, discussing the plants they were seeing, the cats, the dogs, as well as the insects too, wait until we’d arrived at the site of the lotuses, they couldn’t even, contain themselves any longer, they started hollering and hooraying endlessly, they looked like first timers in the countryside, coming from the cities, and so, I can only, pretend NOT to notice the weird looks from the older men and women that we passed by on the way.

just see where the road will lead…not my photo…

After I rented a bike at the tourist station using my MRT card, we’d ridden toward that passage to view the lotuses, the blue skies were high up, the green lotus fields, mixed in with the rice paddies’ golden grains, the sight was breathtakingly beautiful, the sun in the southern areas really wasn’t just for show, it was heated, and the golden glows were so bright, that we can’t even, keep our eyes open, we’d not felt this naked sun a long time, and, with our straw hats and our sunblock clothing, we can still feel the heat.

The two monkeys were already riding so far up ahead, racing down that tarp road with nobody else there, and, I can see, two small heads, vanishing and appearing in the midst of that lotus field.  With the lotus bigger than our faces, the pink flowers greeted us all the way, with the stems from the seeds popping up to the left and right of us, the silence of the field was broken, by the sound of agricultural machinery; this was the southern summer afternoons I’d missed so much over, with that stench from the compost and the rotting mud, so very, familiar to me!

visiting home, in the summers…not my photo still…

For the entire morning, the little monkey laughed and screamed, loud as they could, in the midst of the fields, and trekked along that passage with no coming or going traffic, in the noon, we’d gone to buy the lunches in the rest areas of the super convenience shop, lay for a short nap on the benches by the big old tree, hearing the loudness of the cicadas.  As we turned back toward the station in the afternoon, I’d said a thank you to the station attendant, the two little red faces was marked by the treks of the sunlight, they were so full of noises, chit-chatting away over the adventure they’d had for the day: how wonderful the summer way, how pretty the lilies, how hot White River was, how much fun they’d had for this trip!

So, this, is how memories are made, you just, plan a trip, and take your kids on it, and, there’s no way of telling what will happen once you get there, and that, is the fun, in NOT plan a trip, you can do what you want to, and, experience life in the moment.