Societal interactions today were both religio-political and natural-spiritual. We started the morning at a big dam where we had our IDs held under the current higher security protocol against the local Muslim separatists who want to secede from Thailand and join Malaysia in the medium term and the global caliphate in the long term. Mid-morning we cycled by a cave opening on a river where there were Buddha statues for every day of the week, two for Wednesday. Friday births like ME are contemplating the suffering of the world in front of the banyan tree, and then any day birth can scale the tiny wall and go feed the fish in the “hot sprinkle”.
Lunch of pad see ew is more complicated when you do it right. “See” means four, so it is officially the “noodle dish of the four flavors”: sweet, spicy, sour, salty. I had never imagined pad see ew with sugar, let me tell you, but it is actually good. Unrelatedly, I had spent the previous night with a bit of Bangkok belly, but a bit of local brand Gatorade and some sala fruit (= banana + pineapple + calamansi in a snakeskin) eventually settled me down. Total distance for the day of 60km again, and Danny has been re-bandaged securely enough to release khom loy over the still-spectacular midnight cliffs. During the assembly and lighting of the lanna fire lanterns we met Joop and Frances, a spectacular role model of a Dutch couple who has lived all over the world and been kidnapped in Venezuela and attended voodoo ceremonies in Gabon and are among the most beautiful human beings I have ever encountered, bar none. We spent hours on their cabin’s balcony drinking vodka and will meet them in St. Petersburg for Christmas next year.