Taking the Bad with the Good

Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Saturday, January 22, 2011

The bad. I have a cold. Runny nose, sore throat, sneezing. Pumping pills and syrup to get rid of it as soon as possible.

The bad. Shoulder hurts like it's dislocated (OK. I'm exaggerating). Still, it's quite sore. Went for a Lao Massage.

The bad. Checked my email this morning. Have a copy of my mail from Calgary (the stuff I don't know what it might be). Have a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency. Remember last July when I mentioned I was being audited for the business expenses I've claimed for traveling, writing my book and photography? The auditor has come back and stated that I do not have a business and that I'm not allowed all the deductions I've taken. I will probably owe over $50,000 if that audit is processed this way. The thing is, in the 6 months the auditor has had my records not once have I heard from him. How can he know what I do if he doesn't ask? I do have an Ace up my sleeve. It's just a little hard to play when you're on the other side of the world with limited internet access.

The good. It's so peaceful here. This city is so friendly. The young women love to flirt with me. I couldn't complain about the weather if I wanted to.

The good. The best $4.00 I ever spent. Went for a Lao massage. Never had one of those before but heard it was amazing. At 35,000 kip ($4.32 at current exchange) for a one hour massage. The beautiful young masseuse pretty much walks all over you. Probably 90lbs dripping wet she's quite strong. The massage is part massage, part chiropractic adjustment as she turns you into a pretzel. Half-way through the massage she asks me where I'm from. We chat a bit. This is a no-no as there's a sign at the front desk stating to tattle-tale if the masseuse speaks during the massage. No way I was going to tell on her. The background music playing Kenny G fades in and out as the speaker system goes haywire. It's gets very loud and we both start laughing as there seems to be gremlins in the system. More laughter as she kneels behind me and wants me to put my head on her lap so that she can massage my neck and scalp. I get the signals mixed up and end up at the wrong place. BTW. The massage table is actually a mat on the floor. For the final "adjustment" she almost crawls on my back with me sitting in the lotus position and my hands behind my head and she tries to twist my back using my arms as leverage (try picturing that). We end up laying flat on the floor laughing in an unplanned position. She says, "You big!". Compared to her, I am. Never knew you could have so much fun having a massage. Then it was over. So soon?, I said. I could definitely do that again, and again, and again.

The good. Being ran after by a 20-something waitress. I had breakfast at the cafe I had lunch at yesterday. The waitress there had been smiling at me the whole time. At night, I'm walking back to my hotel from the iLounge where all the non-locals seem to congregate. I turn a corner a block from the hotel when I hear some yelling (I guess it would be called, calling out). I turn around. It's the waitress from this morning and yesterday's lunch. She runs towards me smiling. She starts chatting and smiling a lot, looking back at her friends on the corner. Then another friend comes by on a scooter and she sends them a mischievous smile. A few more words then she says bye. I continue walking and am about 50 feet from the hotel entrance. The young woman drives by on the back of her friends scooter. She smiles again. Damn language barrier!

The good. Received an email from Nao. She tells me that her friend, Pitk, came to her crying because I had left ( this is Nao exaggerating). She then tells me that she'll be going on vacation soon and that I might miss her if I go back to Luang Prabang. She then says that we should go on holidays together.

The balance. This is my life in action. This is what life really is like if we let it be. Some things we can define as good, some things we can define as bad. To me, they are all just things in my life that happen. I'm sick, but I get to be sick in a peaceful setting where the beautiful women flirt. If it ever got to that point, which I know it won't, the worse that the tax audit would do is bankrupt me. Hey, I have a beautiful and rich Lao woman who's offered me a job and companionship. I have a sore neck and shoulder. I'd suffer like that every day to get a massage with that masseuse every day.

When we live in awareness we can see these experiences as they really are. Unfortunately we get caught up in our daily lives and forget about the little things that are beautiful and make us smile.

I received an email from my sister with a story about a study that the Washington Post did about what we perceive in our lives and how we prioritize things. A violinist played Bach for 45 minutes in a Subway station. Children would stop and listen until their parents would pull them away, in a hurry. Others would stop, but only for a moment, too busy to stop and listen. The violinist, playing a $3.5 million violin was virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell playing incognito. Days before people had paid over $100 per ticket to see him play. Here you could hear him play the same concert for free if you just took the time to stop and listen.

It doesn't matter who you are, where you are, and what you are doing, you should always make the time to observe, listen to, and smell the beauty in your life. You never know when you may be missing the cheapest concert, observing a reknown artist at work, or smelling the sweet smells of the world around you.

Think It! Feel It! Live It! Love It!
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