Back in Chiang Mai

So, I'm back in Chiang Mai, where I spent the summer of 2003. It feels like home, except my Thai is extremely rusty, and I can tell I won't have much opportunity to work on it in the short time we're here; when I was here before I spent most of my time far from touristy places and this time that just won't be possible. (It's amazing how I see this place in a different light when staying in a hotel -- it becomes much more like all the other places I've been a western tourist, i.e. with guys lurking outside the hotel trying to sell their services as drivers, restaurants where the staff speak English, etc.)

I remember feeling very free when I was here before. No one was putting any demands on me -- in fact, I sort of wished at the time that they would! (I was supposed to be conducting a research project about the museum here, on how they document performances and exhibitions, and in order to do it I tried volunteering my services for anything involving English -- mainly, I hoped, editing English translations of Thai texts for catalogues and so on. The staff quietly but resolutely refused to take me up on my offer.) But I really had my time entirely to myself. Getting around was not so easy, because I'd made the mistake of getting a bicycle rather than a motorcycle.

But then there was the great pleasure of pedaling my bicycle at night down a quiet soi (alley) with frogs croaking in nearby marshes. I hadn't felt so relaxed in a long time and certainly not since.

This visit isn't quite so relaxing, because we're trying to pack in more activity and travels. But I'm enjoying being here with family members, and it's certainly a nice break from my usual life.

I'm having odd dreams. I had a dream in which I rescued cats, which is pretty much par for the course. But then I arrived late at the movie set (which movie set? THAT movie set--the one in Portland, Maine) because my car, or rather my bicycle, had broken down, or at least that's what I told the tall, blonde director (because actually, it was just that I was driving so slowly, in that dreamlike way). She was saying FINALLY, Rabbit is here, and then I remembered that I had auditioned a few days back in my high school gym (but I hadn't known I had gotten the part, and anyway it was a very small part!)! Then I saw a friend who said "guess who I'm playing" and I couldn't guess. Then I realized I didn't know my lines. And then I realized she was playing Tina Turner. And then I realized that one of the actors had friends who were in the Latin Kings and one had brought a gun and a fight had broken out and they were waving the gun around and pointing it at people's heads.

I need to find a way to study Thai again, and I need to find a way to make my life less stressful.


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