You’ve got to throw in some new horizons …

A not unfamiliar race to the departure gate in Sydney. My fault. Last minute frantic banking. Not a good start.

An easy 10 hour flight.

Dropping through the clouds the whole landscape became a sea of Rosalie Gascoigne assemblages. Watery patinated panels of dirty browns and greens, muted turquoise, soft mauves and pinks. Pinks! Camera bag in the overhead. Blink. Snap. Blink. Snap. Commit it to memory. The colours!! The shapes. The meandering channels of water breaking the geometry.

You can’t keep painting the same landscape, telling the same story.

You’ve got to throw in some new horizons.

fields of rosalie gascoigne

The fuggy moist warmth wraps its arms around you on arrival.

The chaos of the streets.

The chaos of colour.

Oh colour how I have missed you.

Trains and a taxi to our little hotel on the river. A blind dog barks at our arrival. We are walking through the grounds of a temple. No signage. Dark. Edgy. We have done this to the kids before “What the?” Finally a marker. A clue. An alley.

Loy La Long.

Enter The White Room. Smaller than it looked online but spotlessly clean with glossy white wooden floors and welcoming crisp white sheets. A secret door in our loft leads to a verandah overlooking the river, the main artery of the city.

first-floor-verandah-loylalong

Towering Sheritans and Hiltons in the distance.

view from the loylalong hotel

But I wonder … can you feel the warm breeze on your face you high risers? Can you smell the spices? Can you hear the tinkle of wooden chimes, the river lapping against the shore? The cacophony of boats plying their many and varied trades along the river?

We are resting with our heads on the chest of Chinatown.

We are in Bangkok.

And I can feel her heartbeat.

loylalong-detail

This chic little hotel caught my eye the moment I saw their website. It’s so clever. The owner, C, is an ex-copywriter, a young guy who worked for Ogilvy and Mather for 15 years till the day he saw a FOR LEASE sign from the water taxi on his way to work. In a matter of days the deal was done. The leap was made. It’s important to leap every now and then. One of my nieces is stag leaping her way around South America. No fear. I like it.

loy la long hotel details

loylalong hotel lounge

 

“HE was leaning against the pole of the water taxi, shaded by the canopy but already damp from the morning’s heat. Staring out at nothing in particular, the ramshackle shanties tenuously clinging to life on the water’s edge, the light glaring off the turquoise blue glass of the Sheriton and Hilton in the distance.

Same same. Every morning.

But then something caught his eye.

Amidst the dark rotting timbers, a woman in a white dinner shirt, early 50s maybe, sitting quietly in a shadowy corner of a little hidden hotel. Watching the cacophony of boats plying their trades along the river. She was watching but not watching. She was there but not there. The water taxi sped past. She was gone but he could still see her face. A once beautiful face now written with sadness.”

 

~

 

“SHE had woken at first light, the sonorous roll of engines on the river a sign that the city was waking up. The family was still asleep so she tiptoed her way over the glossy wooden floors, collected up her camera and watercolours and stepped up to the dark timber deck that all but touched the river.

A golden hour of light but she did not take up her camera and her sketchbook remained closed.

She was lost in her own thoughts and a wave of missingness washed over her.

Thinking about what was and what is.

Thinking about where she now fits if she fits at all. 

Staring at the river boats passing left and right she had a fleeting sense that someone was watching her from the water taxi but the figures were blurred – her glasses forgotten in the room – another sharp reminder of her vulnerability.

She knew she should feel happy. This might be a last family holiday together. Children growing up.

But there was a knot of sadness in her that she was struggling to understand and untangle.  

Thinking of what is and what might be.

Her shoulders dropped, her gaze lowered to the slow brown river below, the water taxi rounded a corner and the river, for a moment, was quiet. 

 

 

We had a mixed up kind of day yesterday which is often the way as you land in a new country and find your feet, not only as a foreigner, but as a family. It takes a few days to peel off the plastic and get used to each other again.

Two weeks ago I discovered my dormant Graves disease had returned with a vengeance and as much as I would love to follow Carla Coulson’s example and tackle it naturally, I’ve opted for meds as the trip was looming. Still not feeling quite myself. A little foggy and disconnected.

family

street food and shopping

A street masseuse latched on to me in Kho Sahn Road last night, told me I should come back tomorrow and he’d fuck me good, all the time working my neck, working his story. His grand finale was to tilt my head back and blow?/suck? into my nose (I think). Wham! Bam! WTF?! Have felt a little violated ever since as if he’s breathed some of his seedy spirit into me. Gag. Bill Nighy spasm.

Despite his inviting offer we took our leave and had dinner at Hemlock, recommended by C. Great call. The meal was special. Particularly the starter, Miang Kham. A mixture of freshly grated coconut browned and roasted, peanuts, dried shrimps, finely diced ginger, lime, Thai green chilli and French shallots – all placed on an individual leaf, topped with a spoonful of sweet sauce, wrapped up tight and popped in the mouth. A sensational mixture of flavours.

miang kham at Hemlock Bangkok

 

 

~

 

Stop.

Rest.

Breathe.

she said to herself.

 

~

 

 

reclining buddha Bangkok

 

There are fish jumping at my feet in front of the hotel’s verandah as I write.

 

A mattress is floating past.

 

Welcome to Asia my friends.

 

Sweet crazy dreams.

 

x

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    20 Comments

    1. Posted 14 October 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Halloo to you lovely Marg. Somehow I feel a little more tethered knowing you are still out there adventuring. And for a small moment, so am I when I read your words. I am happy for you and also sad for you. And freaked out with you. And drooling at the hotel and your yummy food. Still here. Baby’s larger.
      Love to your crew,
      Shalagh

      • Marg
        Posted 14 October 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Jump aboard the floating mattress Shalagh. We’re on our way to the Land of the Thunder Dragon. 30 years in the planning. I think it’s just a tricky time of life as the kids start to make their own way – exactly as we did and I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂 It’s just challenging seeing it from the other side of the fence lol. It’s all good x And I’m pleased the little one is getting larger and maybe easier ?? Love to yours too. x

    2. Posted 14 October 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Hope a rest helps with the Graves. Enjoyed my meandering armchair travel to you, it’s been so many years, errr. decased since I was in Bangkok… cripes when was even last time in Asia, a long time… your photographs are lovely, so evocative…

      • Marg
        Posted 14 October 2014 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Seana. It’s all coming good. I’d never been to Bangkok. I have to say, the older I get the more I like big cities less. Rome is an exception lol. I wonder sometimes if it’s the rise of globalisation, that they start to merge into one. That’s why we try and seek out unusual little hotels like this one. It wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea but we loved it. Strap yourself into that armchair. We’re only just getting warmed up x

    3. Harrie
      Posted 14 October 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Fabulous. I hear you, I am there with you, I am glad to have you home xx 😉

      • Marg
        Posted 14 October 2014 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Ah if only I’d had the bloody camera in my hands landing in Bangkok Harrie. The light was dull and the colours were insane. I’m so glad you liked this.

    4. Harrie
      Posted 14 October 2014 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      It appears I lied when I said I saw all the photos – it is only now when I revisit your story that I see a whole lot more. They are super. Brilliant.
      Could you not stare at the green wall with the 6 forever?
      And the wood panelling Rosalie -eat your heart out- gasgoine.
      Yes to drawing. Lets make it a reality X

      • Marg
        Posted 14 October 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Yes to drawing. Every week.

    5. Harrie
      Posted 14 October 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      nah, I like blink click blink click better X

      • Marg
        Posted 14 October 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        My mind’s eye ain’t what it used to be 😉

    6. Donna Bevan
      Posted 14 October 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      So beautiful Marg the photos,the words , the feelings. PS We took a last family holiday to Vanuatu felt quite sad and a lot of loss , only oops the boys are all still here , living at home and still coming on holidays- maybe not for the whole time- but its really lovely they join us. Harder for rural families whose kids have to go away .

      • Marg
        Posted 14 October 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Donna. I’ve been so nervous today wondering if this would just blue people out so it’s lovely it’s struck a chord. Prepping for an overseas trip is hard. You work flat out to make it to happen and those first few days you’re inevitably a bit tired and out of sorts. Throw in an overactive thyroid two weeks before and yeah it can be tricky. I think we’re at a very poignant point in our lives. I wish my mum was still alive so I could chat to her about it. So nice to know they’ll still blow in. Thanks for subscribing too. Lovely to have you here. xx

    7. Posted 14 October 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      I know,I am going to have to re read this later. I’m kind of mid move so a bit scattere. Want to check out about your hotel, sounds great.

      • Marg
        Posted 15 October 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        I think you’d love it Andrea – the hotel. Has that artsy kind of feel. Laid back. And a really welcome respite from the madness of the city outside.

    8. Posted 15 October 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      every single part of this post just beautiful, how you weave words to make magic!
      that woman and her wisdom always gets to me xxx

      • Marg
        Posted 15 October 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        I’m so glad you got it Lisa. And perhaps you get a sense of why that post of yours resonated with me. So pleased you you think there’s a little magic at play xx

    9. Posted 28 October 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      You weave such magic with your words Margaret. In an instant I’m brought back to the dizzying craziness that we left behind only days ago – with some sense of relief – only you make me want to go back. Thank you for letting us look at the world through your beautiful lens.

      • Marg
        Posted 29 October 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Thanks for taking the time to visit Phoebe. And thanks for your lovely words too x

    10. Deborah MCGARRY
      Posted 14 February 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      This is just wonderful. We’ve booked at Loy La Long because of your post. Thank you

      • Marg
        Posted 15 February 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

        Hope you enjoy it Deborah. It’s not mainstream. It’s a little left field which is what we like. I’d love to know what you think. Hope it works out x

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