Loy Krathong revisited – three years on….

As I headed to the airport yesterday afternoon, I passed an increasing number of roadside displays in preparation for Myanmar’s Full Moon Tazaungdaing festival celebrations, keenly aware that I would miss the festival. However, thanks to an article in the in-flight magazine, I was pleased to learn that the Thai Loy Krathong festival would be today.

I was pleased, but the realisation also hit me with a jolt.  I was instantly transported back three years to my first experience of Loy Krathong. In 2009, the Festival fell on November 3rd, one month and one day since life changed.  On that day, three years ago I had just had my first chemo, I had had two rounds of surgery and I was starting to lose my hair.

I wrote a short blog post, which makes emotional reading for me.

It is another day for quiet reflection and deep gratitude.

 

 

Starfish, scars and soakings

We are splat bang in the midst of Water Festival Mania in this part of the world.  In Thailand Songkran is celebrated, with massive waterguns, tubs of water and young children with little bowls of water – all aiming to soak you!

In Myanmar, the Thingyan celebrations last at least four days and ensure a total drenching, with the aim of cleansing the sins of the previous year.

It is all great fun, but it does get a bit wearing after a few hours of not being able to venture outdoors without being absolutely drenched through and through.  So I toyed with the idea of heading out of Bangkok, to a jungle retreat perhaps, or to the beach?  The beach certainly appealed as did the allure of starfish hunting in the ocean.  However, I found it rather difficult to make a solid plan.  Getting out of Bangkok is not difficult, but does require at least knowing where you are intending to head.  I did not particularly feel like taking a flight somewhere, and howfing my bags on and off of buses with a fairly fresh surgical would did not appeal much either.  A train journey would do the trick, though again I would to be clear about where I was heading and have accommodation sorted.  I also had an appointment with Dr P a week after the surgery so would need to be in town until then.  And although the wound was healing well, let’s face it, it is still a laceration and was very tender.  I was not convinced that it would be entirely wise to dunk it in the ocean and pursue random starfish!

I saw Dr P on Wednesday, and he was very pleased with the healing.  But the surrounding skin was pretty inflamed and angry.  Happily he felt that the dressing was no longer needed and after a brief consultation I was sent off into the great outdoors to get on with healing.

With a few days before my return to Yangon, I made a few enquiries, and looked at a few options but many places were fully booked as folks head out of town for the holiday.  And then one friend advised me that travelling out of Bangkok would probably be pretty stressful.  Transportation is pretty booked out and the main destinations would be very busy.  So I decided to settle on staying in Bangkok and lying low for Songkran, and take up residence beside the lovely little pool at our apartment.

As it turned out, that was clearly the best decision because I returned back to the apartment to a number of messages and the news of two massive earthquakes off Aceh and a tsunami alert.  It was good to be in contact immediately with family after our 2004 experience.  And I have no words for the relief and gratitude that a major tsunami was not triggered.

So no starfish hunting this time, although I did visit Ocean World which does have a starfish department.  That will “tide” me over for a while

Adventure

I have in my hand, a rail ticket for a 13 hour journey to a place I have never been before.  I am taking NED on a little jaunt, just to keep him sweet and to make sure he sticks around.

In my possession, I  also have a new, large memory card for my camera, a heap of books and a wide grin.

This is where we will arrive tomorrow morning ……………………. for a few day’s break.  Details and a promise of no cancer talk in the next post.

Adventure beckons!