Sunday Salon for 28th August 2011 (#58)

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written a Sunday Salon.  While not a lot has happened recently that I haven’t yet reported, there are a few upcoming events that I’d like to write about.  But first, a brief update…

Most significantly, it’s the tenth anniversary of my mother’s death following a lengthy illness.  Not a day passes that I don’t think about her in some unexpected way — I often feel she’s reading over my shoulder when I’m immersed in a good book and I constantly think about how she would moderately “scold” my sister and myself whenever one of my students acts out.  I had planned to visit one of the local Chinese shrines and honor her memory by lighting a candle (particularly since today is the last day of the Por Tor Festival during which locals remember their ancestors).  However, the constant downpours have prevented everything other than holing up at home; thank goodness there are computer terminal’s in my apartment building’s lobby…

The fact that the monsoons have arrived with a vengeance is probably the biggest “news” of note right now.  With a marked absence of rain at the beginning of the month it has poured most days over the past week.  Last Tuesday I couldn’t wait until the squalls moved elsewhere and so trekked out of the rabbit warren of small lanes towards my recently-discovered “shortcut” to the Old Town.  Along the way there’s a small bridge crossing one of the many branches of Bang Yai Canal that crisscrosses the area and was shocked to find muddy water rushing furiously just a foot or two below the road surface.  I didn’t happen to have my camera with me, breaking my own cardinal rule of walking around town.  When I broke out of the soi onto Thanon Thepkassatri, I found much of the road flooded with cars, motorbikes, and local buses struggling to keep afloat.  I kept to the high ground (the sidewalk along the eastern side of the road is abnormally raised — now I understand why) and made it to the center of town.  Every time I crossed another tributary of Bang Yai I berated myself for forgetting the camera.  While it has continued to rain, I haven’t seen the flood as dramatic as on that afternoon.

I finished reading The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury late last night.  This was one of those books that was more than mere entertainment for me.  It was one that truly made me think and want to seek out more information.  Thus, I’ve already done a bit of research on the Knights Templar, Constantinople, and Turkey in general — areas I never felt I’d be this interested in — and am desperate to read more.  The next time I visit a used bookstore I plan to at least seek out another of Khoury’s novels (I’ve only read Sanctuary before this latest one).  I did find a novel called Crusade by Robyn Young in a recent book exchange so I’ll start reading that one tonight.

The computers here at my apartment complex have their USB drives disabled which is more than a bit frustrating today.  I don’t have any of my regular browsers with their bookmarks and the myriad of other portable programs that is my complete computing world now that I no longer have my laptop.  Perhaps this is a good thing today as it will limit my computer usage.  Still, frustrating…

I’m also frustrated with the weather.  I really don’t mind the rain itself but the wind gets tiring.  For one thing, strong gusts are catching some sort of metallic objects up on the roof.  Since I live on the top floor I hear these scraping and creaking all day and all night.  A couple of times today I could see my ceiling visibly bend upward and was fearful that the wind would rip my roof clean off.  That actually wouldn’t surprise me that much.  But the wind also prevents umbrella-covered strolls in the rain, something I very much enjoy.  You get soaked if the wind is driving the rain sideways; the wind completely destroyed my previous umbrella — I was almost lifted airborne before the struts gave way!

I really wanted to go to a local shrine today.  Not only to remember my mother but also to experience the culmination of Por Tor, also known as the “Hungry Ghosts Festival”.  A week-and-a-half ago I met up with a few well-known expats and a guide for Phuket Heritage Trails with the intention of viewing the Chinese merit-making ceremonies.  Unfortunately, we’d picked the wrong evening!  The night wasn’t a total waste as we had great conversation while sipping cocktails (a vastly-overpriced water for me) at Siam Indigo and then while enjoying a late dinner at Kopitiam on Thalang Road.  I was in great company with two of Phuket’s best-known bloggers (Jamie of Jamie’s Phuket and Tim who writes a personal and a company blog plus assists the legendary John Gray with his) as well as the owner of one of Southeast Asia’s best travel websites, Travelfish, who was visiting from Bali.  Not to mention the extremely knowledgeable Chaiya, a life-long Phuket resident who now guides anybody interested through the streets of Phuket’s Old Town — a must for any tourist and any expat with more than a passing interest in local heritage.  You can contact Phuket Heritage Trails through their Facebook page.

Daily Writing Totals:
This Article – 899 words
Total Today — 899 words

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