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A Trip Down the River

It’s been months since I wrote a blog post! In the beginning, lockdowns kept me at home, so I didn’t have much to write about. As the lockdown restrictions eased, I just wasn’t motivated to do much of anything. I think it’s time I start weaning myself out of my hermit state.

Yesterday, I decided to get out of the house, and went for a two-hour trip down the Ping River with a company called Mae Ping River Cruise (Mae means “mother” in Thai). The Ping is a muddy, slow-flowing river which runs through the middle of Chiang Mai. It’s scenic enough, with big trees, and lots of folks fishing along the banks, to watch as you float by, but by no means a thrill ride.

The weather is getting cooler in Thailand, by which I mean the mid-80s and low 90s. The water cooled things down even more, so it was a very pleasant trip. The boats look like a sort-of, giant, stretched-out canoes, and the motors are basically weed trimmers, with attached propellers. My guide/captain was a young Thai man with long hair, and a hopeful, wispy beard, dressed in the typical uniform of a loose shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. I was dressed much the same. The boat was occupied only by me, and two friends. The price of the “cruise” was a little steep for Thailand at 550 baht ($18) per person, but did include a stop at farm house and a plate of cut watermelon and pineapple.

While my friends spent most of the trip taking pictures of each other, for their Facebook pages, I spent the time lost in my own thoughts. Having spent much of my life on the water, it always feels like a homecoming when I’m floating, no matter if it’s a river, lake, ocean, or a small pond.

We arrived at the farm house a little less than an hour after we started. Everything was made of wood, and could politely be described as “rustic”. We docked, and made our way up a rather precarious wooden walkway. This led to a large, open room, made of natural timbers, with an elephant’s skeleton, occupying a place of honor, as the first thing one notices upon entry. There were plenty of dusty cobwebs, to give the place character, and I later learned the place was used to shoot a few scenes in the fourth installment of the “Rambo” movies. We were seated, give our fruit plates, and after about 20 minutes, it was time to head back in the opposite direction, to our origin.

I certainly can’t say it was an exciting, or even stimulating day. However, it was just what I needed – some exposure to the sun, a couple of hours on the water, and a chance to get out of the house to someplace other than a grocery store, restaurant, or bar.

One thought which occupied me during my little trip, was the importance of humor. With all the crazy things that’ve happened this year, and with the division between political viewpoints back home, I’ve noticed that nearly all my friends can still laugh.

While, some of us may disagree with others, and yes … a few people have proven themselves to lack a sense of humor, I can’t say too many people have abandoned me. I also haven’t “unfriended” anyone, literally, or on social media because of their opinions.

Regardless of where you stand, you have to admit, this year has given us plenty of absurd situations and occurrences, which are prime material for ridicule and meme production. Even if you leave politics out of it, we’ve had murder hornets, The Tiger King, and toilet paper shortages! Part of the reason I haven’t written anything lately, is because anything I can invent in my mind, can’t compare with the ludicrous events happening in the “real” world.

I’d like to say “thanks” to my friends and family, for their jokes, silly posts, light-hearted barbs, and even humorous, political commentary. Without a sense of humor, this all would’ve been much worse, and hope no matter how ridiculous things get, you never lose that part of yourself! Friendships and family should always be place above the noise.


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