The images today are from my weekend (well four day) stop over to see my parents in Bangkok in 2005. I was working in Malaysia, mom and dad were in Bangkok, so on the way home, I stopped. The added segment made my airline ticket cheaper. The four-day layover makes the ticket cheaper still so my company was happy. It was fun to stop in Bangkok again, my third trip to Bangkok. I love Thailand. It is a magical place for me, filled with memories of things that used to be. By 2005 many of the Klongs were gone. The health issue of stagnant water, having been addressed over the time between when I was first in Bangkok and this visit. There are still Klongs in Bangkok just not as many.
Bangkok, sometimes sadly called the Venice of the East. Venice is much young than Bangkok. Venice is the Bangkok of the west. Bangkok as a city is sinking. It is very close to sea level as it exists. I remember in the rainy season when the streets of Bangkok flooded. Water finds its level in all cases. Dad was working on the first day I was in Bangkok, helping the folks at IPST continue the mission he had started many years before. To have, deliver and improve a system of education designed to improve the quality and impact of science teachers nationwide. Mom, her friend Miss Hart and I went out to lunch that first day. We went to a hotel with a buffet.
The hotel overlooked the river in the heart of Bangkok. My grandfather would have been proud of. I pulled his trick of tipping the server before the mal to bring me the Bill. I enjoyed pulling that on mom and Miss Hart. I also enjoyed the buffet. That night we went to a wonderful restaurant out on the river, but away from Bangkok not actually in the city. Thai food is something that I love from Tom Yum, my favorite soup to pineapple. I love the food in Thailand. IPST is off of the same street, well the same main street that we used to live on. Each street called a Soi. They were numbered with even Soi’s on one side, and odd Soi’s on the other side. When we were first in Thailand, we lived at the end of Soi 12.
As I have shared many times, I traveled for 11 years. One million miles in the air. It sounds like a lot (if you count both airlines I used, I was closer to 1.3 million miles in 11 years). I landed in many countries over those 11 years. In the best sense of both sides, I was in Malaysia when there was an issue in the area between Malaysia and Thailand. The first time I was in Malaysia, the team took me to the Elephant rescue reserve. The second time, because of the growing conflict in Northern Malaysia, they didn’t take me. I, however, never felt like I was not safe when wandering around Kuala Lumpur. The city always felt safe to me, and I enjoyed my time there.
I knew things happened. When I landed in Istanbul, I was a day early for the meetings I was going to have. I went to the hotel from the airport. My cab driver was not conversational, so I just watched the scenery. There were a parade and event that made the driver more grumpy than he was; we had to take a detour. I don’t know if he thought I was going to cut his tip because it took longer to get to the hotel. I gave him a very good tip, and it was the only time he smiled that entire trip. We had ended up taking surface streets and drove through what is called the old city. I came back to the old city one evening and walked around with a group of people.
I was at the hotel and wandered up to the lounge on the top floor. It was a beautiful lounge, and I was relaxing enjoying a beer with my feet up. The server came up to me, she looked a little scared, and asked if she could turn on the television. I said, sure. I ended up watching the aftermath of the bombing that had occurred just a few moments before in the old town. The very part of town we had driven through. For the first time in all my travels, I didn’t feel safe. I had that feeling three times in traveling. The first time I had that feeling was in 2001. On September 11, 2001, I was in a plane heading to Chicago. I didn’t feel safe for the first time in the city where I was born. The second time was Istanbul. The last time was in Seattle, and all three remain with me.
Istanbul once called Constantinople and before that many other names. The capital of the western Roman empire and later the capital of the Ottoman Empire. A city built with a grand wall. But more importantly, a city built on the Starts of the Bosporus. The narrowing of the waterway leading into the Mediterranean Sea, allowing the now country of Turkey, to control who came in and out of the waters of either side. The team I was working with took me to the Asian side of Istanbul and the European side, where these pictures are. We met with a couple of customers, and in the time in between, we went for Turkish Coffee overlooking, or looking at the straits!
I spent a lot of time in Europe on the trip that ended in Istanbul. Paris, Brussels, Prague, and final Istanbul over two full weeks of traveling. Paris and Brussels were with teammates, Prague and Istanbul ended up being a solo trip. Our team’s name was the Red Bull team, so whenever we saw the logo or a Red bull could, we took pictures. The last picture in Istanbul at the outdoor café where we had Turkish Coffee that day, was of the Red B Bull refrigerator. I know throughout that trip that I got really tired. It is hard, sometimes when you traverse the globe to remember where you are at the moment. Each of the countries I listed had a wonderful team that showed me their countries.
But waking up in the middle of the night, you find yourself disconnected. Home is a place you know when you wake up. A hotel room is not home, no matter how many things you carry with you. It doesn’t make a difference. You wake up in that hotel room and begin the process of figuring out where you are. Many are the same, if you, like I did always stay in the same type of our brand of hotels. I stayed globally or in the US in a Marriott hotel. That meant I would know quickly that I was in a hotel. They have similar setups globally. But where the hotel was, often was the next step. In the middle of the night when you are groggy and tired, thinking doesn’t work well. I would have my phone charging by the bed. I always had a calendar appointment to open, showing what city I was in! That day I awoke in Istanbul!
Once in the world, there were larger beavers that roamed the earth. Instead of gnawing down saplings and small trees, I wonder if those giant beavers could bring down a tree? We had a beaver visit our pond for two years. They, the mama and poppa beaver built a log nest on the far side of the pond from us. They were only there for two years. For someone reason, the male beaver decided to cross the road (Olive Branch) instead of using the creek under the bridge and was hit by a car. Mama and kits moved further up the creek to another pond after that. I know they moved to the pond up the creek because I followed them after poppa was killed to see where they went.
Our neighbors were split on the beavers. First was the group that was concerned. We lost the tree we had planted at the edge of our yard, but that wasn’t a huge deal to us. A couple of our neighbors wanted to call animal control to have the beavers evited. Do you evict beavers or just pick them up and move them. Here, the ranger saying is your home now. The second group of which my wife and I were a part was enthralled having the Beavers in the pond. When the beavers left, the less friendly and frankly less cool Muskrats moved into the pond. I supposed in fairness the muskrats were still cool to have in our pond but not as way cool as the Beavers.
The pictures are of the Beaver on the edge of our backyard that led down to the pond. Their home was across the pond in the section of unused land. There were two houses at the beginning of the front pond of our neighborhood, and then a section of land, that was the edge of the pond that was in our back yard. The Beavers appeared in the pond about three years after my daughter and I had started to watch the cartoon Angry Beavers. We, of course, named the Beavers the Angry Beavers. My guess is, it was truly a coincidence but well anyway. Still, it was fun to see the Beavers build their home. They never built a dam over the creek area, because they already had a pond. But their house was cool!
The Walrus was a song from the Beatles (I am the Walrus). We did not have sea lions, seals or Walrus (what is plural for Walrus, Walrus?) in our pond. We did have two types of turtles. The one in the last few pictures is a common or sometimes called flatbill or Mud Turtle. The other type of turtles in the pond was the larger (more aggressive) Alligator snapping turtles. But the mud turtles enjoyed the pond as well. The ponds were created as a way to handle overflow water from the neighborhood. Concrete doesn’t absorb water at the same rate that grass does. The more concrete, asphalt roofs, and asphalt in a neighborhood, the more water has nowhere to go.
So the builder put in what are called retention pongs. In the case of our house in Indiana, the retention ponds were dams placed and areas dugout, along the creek bed. Where the turtles wandered in on their own, either coming downstream with the creek or upstream along with the creek, humans added the fish. Snakes, Turtles, and Muskrats, Beaver and Herons’ all made it to the pond on their own. The wintering Geese hung out on the pond on their own. But the many fish were put there by neighbors. There were bluegills and bass. The frogs were all around the pond area, but more in the trees (tree frogs) than in the actual water. The frogs tended to live in the creek side of the pond.
At the end of our yard was on the left side, a railroad trestle. The creek ran under the trestle into the first retention pond. The pond always had a delightful smell (decaying everything) in the summer. In the dog days of summer, we stayed away from the pond because of the smell. But the rest of the year we often wandered around the edge of the pond. The pictures today were more of a seeing the Turtles, and pictures of the kids playing on the play yard. The play-yard was at a church; it was not in our back yard. Ours was a much smaller play-yard. All in our backyard in Indiana. Funny how you remember things about houses you live in. For me, in Indiana, it was our back yard.
Sometimes I wonder if pictures get sad, as they sit in a folder forgotten. I do wonder if pictures sometimes wonder what happened. You used to look at me all the time. But, now you don’t look at me anymore. It makes me so sad to sit in this folder Christmas Day 1995 with my friends, but no one looks at us anymore. Christmas 1994 was long ago and far away. We lived in Cincinnati, Ohio then. The haze of time changes everything. I read a post by Fortune today talking about the memories connected with objects. It reminded me of the memories connected to pictures. Not that it matters that pictures exist in a vacuum, that the light captured is now long gone.
Or in fact that the light captured wasn’t the light captured.. at 186000 miles per second light moves faster than shutters.
Instead today the memories attached to each of the pictures. You pick the picture up; it’s not like the movies, where the melancholy music starts playing for sad pictures. Where the happy, upbeat summer music plays as you look at pictures of young people playing Frisbee just outside a dorm Wait, is that Alexandra and Jim playing Frisbee all those years ago? My Jim had hair then. Before the traitorous act of hair deception. I wonder where I was, oh yes behind the camera — separated by the wall of a lens, film and is-captured light. Do you ever look at pictures and wonder? What of the picture not taken? Does the existence of the picture sometimes remind you of the picture not taken?
One thousand moments in a folder.
1000 picture in a dream.
What then do we look for? As we wander the old pictures seeking what? A memory? A shard that loos from the rest of the torrential pour of memories within is the one that makes everything better? The music is playing now. I can hear it. The sound of the lone guitar gently strumming a classical song in the background. The soundtrack to my pictures today is mixed. Happy and sad, bright, and gloomy.
When we lived in Indiana July 4th was a party at my folk’s house. We would wander down from Greenwood; my sister would also wander down from Greenwood. My little sister (who is much younger than me) still lives in Monroe Country where Bloomington is. We would all drive down, and then head out to watch the 4th of July parade. Then it was back to mom and dad’s house for burgers, brats and other 4th of July traditions. Now, it is a bit of a drive to get there, but the memories are still there. We would head to my sister’s office in town and sitting on the curb, watching the parade roll by. The parade was always about the city of Bloomington and the university.
It was a majestic display of fire trucks and marching bands. There was always a float with surviving veterans from various wars. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Veterans celebrated as they rode by. There were also various organizations that would walk by. Politicians would also walk by shaking hands with people. I remember my dad not shaking hands of GOP candidates as they walked by. Dad was a liberal his whole life! We would watch as the kids dived for candy. One of the parts of the parade for some reason I never understood, was throwing candy to the crowd. They would throw tootsie rolls, which made sense, but they would also throw hard dandy.
The Hard candy would shatter and open, but the Tootsie rolls were soft and survived. The other things were bubble gum. That ended up being a problem on the way home, with ten pieces of bubble gum in twins mouths. But the Bubble gum usually went into the ag that they gave out early in the parade. I used to wonder about that, who thought of giving out bags. And then, did organizers think about the impact of pockets full of candy and put the bag providers at the beginning of the parade? The mini-flash providers were early in the parade on purpose. They would have out the mini-flags so they could be waved for the veterans. All, in a magical day sometimes raining, sometimes hot. But always fun with the family!