The rainy season in Asia gets old, especially when it floods, which happens a lot. It’s not like Oregon, where the clouds are just there all the time, but really not doing all that much, just drip drip drip like excess stomach acid after a plate of spaghetti Bolognese. There it pours down with the force of Holy Hell, sometimes with light and sound, usually not. But nothing can match the thunderstorms of good ol’ Mississippi, best seen from above in small aircraft, a symphony composed and directed by God.
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Asian jet lag is the worst, for an American, one day of travel and a week to recover, like the heroine hangover of a lost weekend. That’s the nice thing about South America, little or no jet lag when it’s all over, at least as long as the continents stay in their current configurations. You can go north and south all you want with little or no effect, except maybe a little Coriolis effect pulling you a bit to the right, like the brakes pulling to one side in my old pick-up. Maybe that’s why Asia is so different, because it’s so far away from the seat of rationalism and so close to China. Like Mexico, ‘so far from God, so close to the United States’, Southeast Asia is ‘so far from Buddha, so close to China’. For centuries everyone in Southeast Asia, all of them of near or distant Chinese origin, have been embracing other philosophies and life-ways besides the Chinese central dogma, about equally divided between Theravada Buddhism, Islam, and Communism, deriving from India, Arabia, and Europe. This is not the crossroads of history, nor the world. This is the detour, the long way home. You could get lost here, but that’s maybe okay. At least the women are beautiful, plenty of eye-candy. If this is a dead end, then you could do worse.
As a rule of thumb, I myself prefer to travel as light as possible, collecting little along the way, but I’m still loathe to throw things away. This is essentially a Buddhist-like non-possession, for fear of being ultimately possessed, but it works out economically also. Poverty is a state of mind, not pocketbook. Buddhist monks take vows to embrace such renunciation, easy for many of them that had nothing anyway, and now get state support and the adoration of society, in Thailand, at least. We American baby boomers are all pampered and spoiled, bemoaning our fate, when things have never been better. The old fashioned virtues of thrift and savings have been long forgotten. I’ve never made much money by modern standards, but managed to save much of it, so can feel like a wealthy man in my fifties. Others weren’t so lucky, nor so frugal, and so are bitter and feel victimized. Certainly it’s nice to enjoy the present tense without stress and have nice adornments surrounding, but I don’t feel deprived, having visited almost one hundred fifty countries and loved many beautiful women, having had good friends and done good work along the way. And I still have family; this is the true wealth of the world. Many people in America’s rump nuclear-family mobile society can’t claim the same.