Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Chiang Mai. The second month and writing progress

      I find that I am writing too much on the sequel to Grey Redemption to make the time to sit down and blog. But today the guilt got the best of me. The current MSS is 39000 words after third edit and I think a third of the way done. We all know I tend to get a little wordy! So while a local friend reads through my second edit printed draft, I get to write for you. Let’s all extend thanks to Chris.

     I am sitting in a garden at a Massage school listening the birds compete with the clack clack clack rhythm of the ancient massage technique called Tok Sen.  Inga is enrolled here as a student and I come along to keep her company every other day. She has been learning the basic forms of traditional Thai massage for the past couple of weeks and will finish in a couple more. I get to be a little more spoiled by this amazing woman. The school is called TTC School of Massage and we discovered it after doing a ton of research that involved talking with actual students. It is out of the central part of Chiang Mai and in a very tranquil and beautiful area. So  our day starts with an 820 Tuk Tuk ride to the school and we get to see the local commute. Many students stay at the school and we meet them for breakfast and a many nationality good morning.
This seems to me to be the style the school was fashioned to represent. An environment of supported self-discovery and learning along with dedicated instruction by very skilled masters. Many Japanese people travel to this school to just learn the Tok Sen technique. It came from this area, is centuries old and works on moving and stimulating energy flow and fixing blockages with a small hammer and stick. I know I didn’t really buy it either. But after seeing it done and having it done twice it is incredible and I can understand why various healthcare types travel to learn it here! Inga has had a toe issue that caused her pain if she wore shoes that put stress to the side of one of her toe joints. She has had it for years, and like many pains we’ve had for years she figured out workarounds for dealing with it. This failed in one of the stretching exercises that makes up Thai Massage and she was in considerable pain. Mark, an Australian gentleman of incredible insight and character put her on the table and did a Tok Sen massage. The pain was gone by the end of the session and the area that had been sensitive for years, fine. There is an energy in this place that even a nihilistic cynic like me has to admit. I can’t write any really violent or aggressive scenes while I am here with Buddha watching, me in the garden. The energy of this school is really that palatable.


To celebrate International Women’s Day, I wanted to do something special for Inga. I contacted a very nice tour agent here in Chiang Mai called Na and she suggested a private river trip down the Ping in a Scorpion boat. I left her to arrange all the details after explaining to her what this day meant to people of Russian culture. She knocked it out of the park and created the perfect day for us. Providing the perfect balance of couple alone time and doing the tour guide thing explaining history and the like. The Ping River was the main thoroughfare and transportation route in days gone by and still serves today in a much-diminished capacity. It is not a deep river, only a couple of meters in some places and rarely twice that. This changes a little in the rainy season but only for a few weeks.
 It is a broad river and its brown hued water flows past some of the most beautiful houses in Chiang Mai squished beside little fishing hovels.  It was a great relaxing couple of hours watching locals fish and children swim. Na had made reservations at a restaurant that showed the history of farming and that of the river. It was also the place used in the last Rambo installment when we meet Rambo and his riverboat. Past the Hollywood and the education elements, this restaurant grows or raises everything they cook. The meal the three of us shared was incredible. Herbs, rice, and spices added to the dishes, were grown meters away from where they grew. A new idea of fresh, or perhaps an old way of life perfectly transported to the new tourist world of Chiang Mai.

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