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2 posts in less than a week? (slight edit)

June 21, 2010

I actually have a tremendous amount of things I’d like to share on here so check back again in another few days for tales of harmonica playing elephants and Thai weddings. 

But for now, I’d like to indulge some moments of reflection now that I’m a few days removed from my diving experience on Ko Tao and am as busy as ever with this volunteering business.
I love humor, but who doesn’t? Satire is the best.  What I enjoy most is being able to weave bits of humor into personal stories that I care about.  Now aside from some occasional cussing I’m sure we’d agree that the content here is mostly PG-13, but that’s the way it should be.  Honest, mildly entertaining but most important, palatable for most tastes which keeps me in the good graces with all the down-to-Earth people back home.  I must be honest though, if I could take some liberties with some more ‘flavourful’ personal opinions you can imagine how the tone of the blog might change.  Everyone knows how stiff being PC all the time can be.  Personally, I’d love it so long as it’s not too offensive or simply hating.  I like to be expressive because it helps to alleviate stress and can sometimes give me a better perspective of things when I see how I feel on paper.  I feel I can be tolerant of pretty much anything but finding genuine appreciation for things such as Thai drivers or music producers (ask me later for the not so PG-13 perspective) is something I don’t ever expect to conquer.  So anyway, all I have to do to keep this clean is remind myself there’s a line between personal memoirs and public reading material. 

My other concern with more of a “tell all” approach to writing has to do with how people interpret my stories.  This blog of course is for my friends and family back home – people I care about (but if I don’t know you, that’s cool too).  It’s not a commercial venture for people I’ll never meet and who don’t give a damn about how they feel about me.  What would my children think of my ‘year down the rabbit hole’, reading through this the first time?  I don’t think it’s a great secret that the raw, uncensored, hi-def playback of this experience, in a more conservative perspective, would raise alarms like Chicago did in 1871.  Now before you pop your monocle keep in mind I never did anything I regret or anything I would judge others for doing the same.  I like to think of it like going away to summer camp but the stakes are raised all around.  Such as Bull Sharks in the swimming hole or a lady-boy show on Variety Night.  No roasting marshmallows but fire poi and questionable meat are the norm.  The custodial staff that doesn’t speak your language and regards you with a mild form or resentment is totally the same. 
Joking aside, how does one relate a ‘story more scorned’ of which you cannot possibly recreate the appropriate context?  The egoist in me says self-censoring is bullshit and that you should be privy to the full experience so that you may better relate to me and my story but here’s the final answer: Buy a ticket and find out for yourself. 
Not that I wouldn’t want to share with you when you ask,
“So Ben, how was Thailand?”
“Oh pretty cool, ups and downs you know?  Spicy food. . .”
A question like that says your either being polite or don’t know where to start asking, but that’s fair.  The chronicles of my experience through this blog is the most sincere reflection I have of my time in Thailand and the closest thing I can do to bring an experience to life on a computer screen.  Ideally, what I’d rather answer questions to are things that have to do with stories from the blog or things I might have left out, only because of the impact the trip has had on me and how much I’d like to impart the experience to others.  Either that or hear from someone who can challenge me on my personal decisions and ask why I did as I chose (I’m looking at you, Ms. Parsons).  The point is I want to provide a complete and as rich of a first hand account of this culture warp both for those who have read along with every blog and for myself.  But modesty has a place in every occasion so therefore. . . 

The truth is there are some things I’ll never share except with those closest to me but that’s the way it’s supposed to be isn’t it? – and I’m sure everyone reading this knows exactly what I mean.  In the end there’s no easy way to rationalize irresponsible behavior.  That’s why God invented peer-support groups and Ko Tao and I can tell you quite honestly I’ve fraternized enough with the latter.  I’ll chalk it up to the learning experience and the chance to live out a dream long enough for me to take away the best of it and walk away clean.  Time to put that madness in the past and focus on what matters most.  I’m very glad I’m in a new environment which is culturally fast tracking my experience in Thailand like I never imagined. 

I guess my soul-searching is through for now.  Remember – harmonica playing elephant! 

Here I am looking as Cameron so lovingly put it, "my bald head and pants"

The first vehicle of any sort that I fully owned


The top pic by the way is me at the top of a mountain-esque Buddhist Temple from last weekend.  More about that next time.  The bottom pic is my jalopy of a motorbike, but with a custom paint job.  Guess what it is?


From → Posts

  1. Sue Dolan permalink

    That is a very cool personal holiday/adventure zoom machine and I have no idea what make it may be, though I particularly like the flattened muffler part and the white speed streaks which I assume were added by you. You sound pensive these days! Looking forward to the harmonica playing elephant story and am truly thankful it is not an artful paintbrush wielding elephant like the one the which used to be at the African Lion Safari… leave it to the Thais to bring out the musical side of an elephant. 🙂

    • It was indeed a love/hate relationship with my zoom machine. The bike itself is painted like a dive flag. google an image of one and you’ll see.

  2. Cam permalink

    I’m pretty sure that elephant is still there, and Ben, that’s a nice watch you got there, a Rolex?

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