What Is It All About?

Well, Curly of “City Slickers” movie fame would just raise his pinky finger. My friend Michael would among other things say, to leave a legacy in land and money. I told my parents I don’t want them to leave me anything – at least don’t save just to bequeath money to me. If they really want to leave a legacy beyond the one that lives in my heart by raising me, feeding me, paying for my education and supporting me until I finally left the nest, then choose any of the following:

  1. Porsche 550 (silver, blue’s fine, too)
  2. 1973 Porsche 911 RS / RSR (colour not important)
  3. Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale (comes only in red)

Alternates, in case my parents are conflicted for what ever reason with the above three primary choices – would not know why one could be conflicted. So, just in case:

  1. Porsche 356 America (black)
  2. Porsche 356 Abarth GTL

Interestingly, since then I have never heard back from my parents about their legacy wishes. I find this lack of interesting in these great choices disturbing – indeed so disturbing that I am glad I am not a trained Jedi, better yet, not one who has accidentally converted to the dark side with a penchant for face masks.

But this is not what this entry is about. It is about “What is life about” or what I think it is about.

I think it is about shared memories through shared history. Living as an expat in Bangkok has many advantages, but building lasting and deep friendships is definitely not on the list. Thus, all my friends are either what’s left from my university days and what is left from or time in America. Maintaining friendships over great distances take effort, both parties have to want to maintain the friendship and both parties have to place a similar emphasis and importance of that friendship. I am lucky that I have a handful of faithful friends and one person with whom I think I am growing the friendship.

When my friends from America are on business trips to Thailand, we make it a point to take time out of our schedules for each other to keep adding shared moments to our history. Throughout the year we text, email or Google-Video, to keep up with each other.  With my friend Joe, I have had a skype call every Saturday for the last almost seven years, where we “shoot the shit” and cover everything like we used to when we on each others decks sipping on Cokes. It is one of the things I look forward to throughout the week.

So, to me, Life is about memories I created with others. If tomorrow my box closes, I am quite sure, I will be remembered. I can’t take anything with me and what ever I would leave behind can break, can be stolen, destroyed otherwise or simply be sold. Memories, if they are important, a person keeps. Shared memories are impacts on other people’s lives. That is what I think life is about. Have a positive impact on the lives of others and create shared memories.

Cheers and stay sharp.

Markus \m/

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What I Do @ 5:44 @ The Airport

It was Saturday and the pale moonlight woke me at 4:50 in the morning. In Italy they say:”La Luna Piena Tira La Donna Verso L’Uomo. La Luna Pazza.” The full moon pulls the woman to the man. Crazy Moon. Well, since I had my “woman” next to me, the crazy moon, actually pulled me to my bike. I know, one could argue it is about the same general area that gets “worked”, but the activities are not really comparable.  I drove out to the airport and rode on the dedicated Bike lane that circumferences the Bangkok airport – 23.5km of fresh and kerosene infused air to inhale deeply. But then the air quality is likely much better than riding in Bangkok itself. About 2km into my ride – I was just approaching the speed of light –  I saw a great and beautiful sunrise.

bluelanesunrisepanoYet, as my gaze wandered along the horizon I spotted a huge billowing cloud of smoke rising and drifting east bound. What the hell is going on there? Is this normal (NO!)? Is something burning (LIKELY)? Did a plane crash (I HOPE NOT)? I really don’t know what the source was of the smoke. And stuff like that is usually a bit difficult to find out…here. But the smoke just kept on rising and I am sure no one cared.

billowingsmokeIt even made for a peaceful photograph, but nice – No, nice is different. And so so I “caught a train” – roadie lingo for joining a fast riding group – and finished my few laps and went drenched in sweat back home, where  engaged into a great luxury. Take a shower, get back into bed for another hour.

Stay Sharp

Yours Markus \m/

 

Out Of The City

Last weekend, we took a motorcycle trip, to just get the hell out of the city. We rode west long the coast towards Ratchaburi but then turned north to visit Wat Samphran – the Dragon Temple.

img_4931This is the first glimpse we had of the Dragon Temple – you can see that the name fits. When we arrived, you find yourself in front of a 16 story, pink tower with a huge dragon wrapped around it.

img_4880A nice nun told us that you can walk inside the dragon and wind you way to the top of the building….just not today or tomorrow. No in fact only twice a year is the dragon’s backside opened, so that people can crawl up the bowels of the dragon until they exit on the roof top. These two occasions are Songkran Day and Chinese New Year.

img_4884The premises of the temple are nicely done and kept up well. The architecture walks a very fine line between kitschy and breathtakingly impressive. Let me explain. Obviously, for Westerners dragons are part of the Germanic Siegfried Saga or Harry Potter books. So, more Disney than spirituality. However, for me, as we walked around, I felt the entire time like Alice in Wonderland. There was a frighteningly large white rabbit…

img_4914…a path shaded by gently bent bamboo..

pathsomphran…and a turtle visitors could enter through its open beak.img_4887Overall a pretty good day trip to get out of Bangkok and to throw yourself a cultural curve-ball. With one last look back at the dragon, onwards we rode, Kanchanaburi was beckoning.

fullsizerenderGetting from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, one has to make a decision: Either less slow (definitely not fast) and un-scenic or long, very long but scenic. Needless to say, we picked a mix of the two routes and found our own, secret third way.

bridgeriverkwaeKanchanaburi itself is a tourist attraction for its famous bridge that crosses the River Kwae (not Kwai – this make Thai laugh, because Kwai is a street-thai term for an appendage dangling between a man’s – and only a man’s – legs).

Within five minutes of our arrival at the bridge a train came by crossing said bridge ata crawl, because of all the tourists staring.

trainbridgeriverkwae

Yes, me, too. But at least my effort was aimed at capturing this unique view of the landscape surrounding the bridge. We spent the evening and the night. Kanchanaburi has got two more attractions. Riding a motorcycle in the province is definitely one, the other one is Erawan National Park – this one however, closes at 5:00pm…why?

So the next day we set off again and rode through the provincial back-country on empty twisty roads and found this temple jutting up from the other wise flat landscape.

watonarockkanchanaburi watonarockkanchanaburibw

I really like this temple because it comes as such a surprise and somehow it reminds me of a medieval castle. The moment was very beautiful – it was quiet, the air was clean and fresh (OK excessively hot and muggy) and then the colorful temple surrounded by green rice-paddies. That’s what we came here for – serenity, open spaces and beauty when you don’t expect it. Move rode on towards the Giant Raintree deeper in the provincial outback – more serene.

giantraintree2bwThis is truly a Giant Raintree. I suppose +80 meters in diameter sitting on a single massive trunk.

giantraintree1The bands are meant to keep the spirits of the tree in the tree. You can see this is a pretty massive trunk.
A great weekend trip, that got us out of Bangkok into nature. I must say, as much diversion as Bangkok provides, over all it provides a low quality of living. Obviously, that depends on one’s preferences and expectations of life, but for me I find myself really longing for moments and scenery like this.

nss-forggenseeMaybe I am getting old, or maybe I am just not as much of a City dweller as I thought i might be or maybe, it’s the old “The-Grass-Is-Always-Greener-On-The-Other-Side-Of-The-Fence” syndrome.

Alright, stay sharp.

Yours Markus \m/