Itch please...

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.
(Mary Oliver, 1935 - )
 Metal, stained glass and mirror shop I passed by on my stroll.

Metal, stained glass and mirror shop I passed by on my stroll.

 I want to get more acquainted with the indigenous vegetation here.

I want to get more acquainted with the indigenous vegetation here.

 Sun stream through the gates of the Australian Embassy; serene. 

Sun stream through the gates of the Australian Embassy; serene. 

 Wire spools and street color.

Wire spools and street color.

 I passed by a Thai hospital clinic. The inside was bleak. I said a silent prayer in hopes of never having to need one of these facilities.

I passed by a Thai hospital clinic. The inside was bleak. I said a silent prayer in hopes of never having to need one of these facilities.

 Picturesque gazebo in Lumphini Park.

Picturesque gazebo in Lumphini Park.

 Water dragon. Very large, very graceful.

Water dragon. Very large, very graceful.

 Marble Gazebo in Lumphini Park.

Marble Gazebo in Lumphini Park.

 Sculpture entitled "A Mother's Love" in Lumphini Park. Built in 1992 as a youth project in commemoration of the Queen's 60th birthday. It made me miss my mom.

Sculpture entitled "A Mother's Love" in Lumphini Park. Built in 1992 as a youth project in commemoration of the Queen's 60th birthday. It made me miss my mom.

 Bike reflections.

Bike reflections.

 Weathered man.

Weathered man.

 Gas station patterns.

Gas station patterns.

 The streets are lined with these overpasses to help pedestrians cross the busy streets.

The streets are lined with these overpasses to help pedestrians cross the busy streets.

 Man on a bike.

Man on a bike.

 Fountain flower.

Fountain flower.

I was the last guest in my room to wake up this morning. People sure do like to get up and go early. It wasn't a noise or daylight streaming through the window that awoken me...it was the ITCH.

my legs were on fire. I instinctively attacked my ankles with what fingernails I have and scratch scratch scratched away. It's the nauseating kind of itch that puts a queasy quell in the base of your stomach as you attack the surface of your skin. Hello old friend. I remember you from my previous life. I never got bit once in Belfast...so two years of an itch-free summer was a luxury. 

Speckled with raw, puffy, red islands of bumps, my legs looked like cucumber skin from the toes upwards. All those summers working at Diabetes camp prepared me for this. Bring it on. 

I made a toasted Peanut butter & Jelly sandwich for breakfast along with an especially tangy green apple and a sippy box of the sweetest soy & Almond drink. The peanut butter here is divine!

I turned on the TV in the lobby as I ate to catch up on the news. The subtitle button didn't work on the remote so I sat guessing what had transpired during the U.S. Presidential debates as it was overdubbed in a rapid Thai voice.

I gave up after finishing my last bits of breakfast and turned it off.

I knew I had the Skype appointment for that job interview so I  hopped in the shower, put on my black dress, a light coat of mascara, and wiped the sweat from my brow.

Pencil and journal at the ready, I waited for the call to come. But it never did.

I emailed the contact to let them know I was logged in. 

Radio silence.

I resigned to not waiting around inside and getting some fresh air. It's wildly frustrating when people don't respect your time or stick to their word. I felt a pit in my stomach because I had been looking forward to some positive news about employment. There will be more doors to walk through.

I decided to find some anti-itch cream at the 7/11. I tried explaining to the man at the counter what I was looking for, but the language barrier proved difficult. I mimed scratching and contorted my face, then used my best charades movements to act out putting on a cream and being relieved.

"ahh bug" he said, then pointed out some bug repellent lotion. Close, but not what I was looking for. I thanked him and searched feverishly through the aisles for some relief.

I resigned to grabbing the repellent lotion, some muscle rub (I figured I'd icyHot the shit out of these burning pustules), an apple flavored water and some mint gum.

I strolled out onto the street and made my way in the direction of a park I had heard was nearby. Nearby is a relative term wherever you go. I walked for over an hour, exploring side streets, eyeing vendor fares and enjoying the high buzz of street life around me. I snapped photos of people, peculiar signs, food, and general curious sights.

I saw across the way where the park must be and I managed to cross an extremely busy and long highway to make it to the entrance. I must be honest...I did fear for my life haha. Me and street crossing has never been a loving relationship.

The gates to Lumphini Park were a lovely shade of magenta and motorbikes lined the entrance for several yards.

Finally some greenery. Zion in metropolis!

This park gave the Botanic Gardens and Central Park some major competition! River bridges, ponds, lanes for running, twisted trees, picturesque gazebos and music blaring from somewhere on the other side of the park invigorated my senses. 

I walked across a bridge over a small river and a woman was throwing bread to feed some birds with her baby. The topless baby squealed with joy in it's diaper as the birds landed all around it. There were vendors selling these "feed" bags of bread and the locals seemed to love throwing the food about. A man came up beside me and dumped a handful into the water. I looked down and saw these HUGE fish skyrocketing out of the water to get a mouthful. I hadn't noticed what was IN the water below! The aquatic life was new and my heart fluttered...I'm not sure if from excitement or fear. Maybe a bit of both. 

I scanned the water and then I saw her.

A dragon.

A huge bohemoth of a lizard popping its head in and out of the surface of the water. How majestic. How beautiful. I had no words.

I decided to walk on and find a place to perch so I could lather my legs in my 7/11 finds.

I rested on some metal benches under giant green umbrellas and lathered the repellent and icyhot muscle rub on the bites. A sting of cool menthol took over and the fever in my legs began to subside. Sweet relief.

I checked my blood sugar and looked at my camera at the photos I had taken. Then I heard a rustle behind my bench. I turned my head and there she was.

my water dragon friend. Emerging from the water and onto the shore. She reminded me of a cat in her movements. Each step purposeful and tender. Her tongue flickered out and must have been a foot long. I didn't think twice before grabbing my camera and running closer. After a few snaps, she returned to the water, front legs floating behind her and tail rowing her faster and faster away to the other side of the river.

I was in awe. It's not often we experience something for the FIRST time...but every day here seems to be a "first" experience. 

I decided to move on so I could make dinner back at the hostel. Close to the entrance of the gates I saw a statue entitled "A Mother's Love". The bronze woman held up her baby and their faces touched. I missed my mom. What a perfect embodiment of the connection of mother and child. My heart began to pang, but I took some photos anyway before continuing my exit.

The walk back was loud. Had the streets gotten busier? Had it gotten hotter? I was absolutely drenched. Maybe wearing a long sleeved black dress wasn't the smartest. My thighs slapped together, sticking and rubbing from the humidity. Hello old friend.  I remember this. stockingless summers, legs free to unite, making a symphony of summertime music. it's been a while, but I loved the old familiarity of simple layerless garb.

I snapped some photos of the street around me and a napping man on a bench. His skin weathered and his digits mangled from some unknown experience.

I made it back to the hostel and made another coconut cream, peanut butter noodle dish. Full and satisfied, I retired to my room and journaled. 

This place is strange. This place is challenging. This place is a new kind of magic.

I want to tap into the things I love...photography and writing are great to help center me, but I'm more than photos and words. Tomorrow I want to push myself further out of my comfort zone and find a Gallery, Museum, or Temple to tap into a spiritual artsy sphere. 

I messaged the American photographer Zina told me about...we'll see if he gets back. 

I like who I am out here. I feel brave. Infinite. I now know I can depend on ME if no one else. that is a speck of reassurance in this pool of unfamiliar currents.

Dragon scales and fish tails,

-DW