This City is Built on Clouds.
One day later, and y’know, it’s all going to be ok.
I knew it at dinner. I’d gone, as usual, well after Hungry Steven came out, and control of my actions was governed by forces more powerful than my conscious brain.
Hungry Steven found us some food at a great little place, and then, when it came, asked on a peculiarity noticed here in Chiang Mai: there are often chopsticks served with your food. Before I knew it, he was making a joke, in grammatically proper Thai, in a construction I’ve never used about how there are no chopsticks in all of Phuket Island.
And I was understood. And they laughed, not at my Thai, but at my joke. I was halfway through my meal when the blood sugar hit my brain and I realized what’d happened.
As I walked around this morning, the feel of the city I couldn’t make heads or tails of finally came into focus. Phuket felt like standing on clay, muddy and rich. You always knew where you were. You were always connected. Some of it even peeled away, came with you, when you moved. Chiang Mai feels like it’s a city dropped on some clouds. Like there’s nothing, really, below you. There’s concrete, certainly. But under that? Solid ground? You’re not fooling me.
The clouds are also the only reasonable explanation for the number of temples (and accompanying dragons) here. It’s as I was told in Phuket - walk twenty meters, run into another temple. They range from new, newly refinished, and downright ancient. Tiny to sprawling. There’s no way I’ll have time to experience them all, but I can’t wait to give it a shot.
Today, I got a replacement part for a bricked router, negotiating a big computer mall and lots of technical terms. (Full disclosure: 12-year-old Steven has been training for that moment for years.) I found an open market, bought an insane amount of lettuce and veggies, talked through food options at four restaurants, and all of it was fine.
We tell stories, lots of stories, about ourselves. All of us.
Some of them say how we can’t do certain things. But occasionally, if we’re not careful, one day we’ll mess up, and forget the story.
We’ll do it, even though it’s impossible.