• Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Nostalgia...

    Well, I guess it was going to happen eventually. I have had some thoughts and feelings that I suppose could be interpreted as missing Thailand. Shit, there goes, I said it. Never thought it would happen. It all started when I was having a clear out of old things and found a pile of old papers from my university days. It's not that I spent too much time looking through the papers but they reminded me of a time when I was very much in love with Thailand.

    I found Thailand on a backpacking trip before I went to university, gap year I guess you call it. Anyway, it got under my skin, as did Asia in general, and I found it hard to get away. My summer holidays were a shade over four months which was great for going to either Hong Kong or Thailand, but I even managed to sneak off for the short Christmas and Easter holidays. I just couldn't keep away. I even opted for a project on the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong as an excuse to go there to research and take photos.

    Thailand seemed somehow different in those days. I'm sure I've changed too but I can't help feeling that Thailand has definitely changed for the worse. Development was still in the early stages and people weren't quite so brash and ostentatiously vulgar as they are now. Many islands were still very much undeveloped and Bangkok's streets were thick with pollution and the air dense enough to cut with a knife (not that that is a good thing). I made some good friends who I still stay in touch with today.

    On one occasion I fell in love with a young university student. It was love at first sight. I won't embarrass myself by going into too much detail but I got in her car, took one look at her and fell head over heels (she was a friend of a friend by the way). I remember she had a Utah Saints tape playing at the time which has meant that fly-by-night group will forever be in my mind (I think the track was 'Something good' - very catchy). She spoke excellent English, was gorgeous, knew about the world and western history, was educated, rich and reminded me of Kate Bush for some reason. Not quite sure which of those was the most important but we stayed together, often with more 6000miles between us, for about four years.

    There were good times and bad times but generally I have some awesome memories of my early life in Bangkok and on Samet with her and I can't help getting bogged down with nostalgia whenever something reminds me of that time in my life. I hate the fact I'm getting old and would happily go back to being eighteen years old and doing it all again, even with mistakes and painful moments. It's not her that I pine for but my youth and probably the best years of my life. I'm older now and the world has changed. Gone are the days when I could spend twelve hours on a half empty plane, smoking like a chimney and getting quietly pissed whilst heading out east to do more of the same in a small hut on a paradise-like island for about a quid a night. Then I didn't worry about things like health and the environment and didn't have a single responsibility, just selfish desire for pleasure. God I hate getting old.

    Sorry for the slightly morose post, I blame that recent burst of nostalgia and the more recent game of badminton followed by red wine which has left me feeling this way. So anyway, all this has got me feeling that I miss Thailand in some way. I hope this doesn't last, there's no way we can go back now, surely!

    Nostalgia...

    4 Comments:

    Anonymous lillian said...

    You are normal after all.. was worried it would NEVER hit you.. :-) As for getting old. I'd add being a parent.. robs your freedom like thing else can...

    7:56 am  
    Blogger The Lost Boy said...

    Utah Saints! I think I'd have fallen in love with her too.

    9:44 am  
    Blogger Bart said...

    That was amazing to see how you were leaving Thailand so easily. Now you sober up? :)

    10:10 am  
    Blogger Life Out East said...

    Ah ha, clarification needed I feel. I think I've decided it's not Thailand or their culture or necessarily the people that I miss, it's the past. 21st century Thailand when you're married and have a child isn't the same as early nineties when you're young free and single.
    I can honestly say that I don't miss anything about Thai culture, it's more a feeling that I miss, if that makes any sense to anyone other than me.
    I do miss the islands but again not so much what they are now as what they once were. Ignore me, I guess I'm just getting old and not happy about it. Agreed Lillian, parenting does take away freedom, what was left after marriage of course (OUCH!!).
    I found a few copies of Something Good by Utah Saints on youtube last night, still sounding good and stirring the memories of long ago.

    3:57 pm  

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