A Journal of my adventures in the world I inhabit while I'm asleep.
|I'm on vacation in Thailand with my wife and son. We're staying at a small hotel in a coastal fishing village. The people are friendly, and most of them speak enough English to understand the tourists.
We take a day trip on one of the local tour buses. One of the main stops is along a canal. There is a large cargo ship docked in the canal, and local boys are swimming alongside it, begging for treats from the sailors. The sailors throw the boys fruits and small coins, which they dive for.
A local man standing next to me speaks: "You may think we are primitive, but we have quite advanced technology here in Thailand. Do you see that boy with the red shirt?" he says, pointing to one of the kids swimming alongside the ship. "That boy is my son. My wife was unable to conceive naturally. He is a test-tube baby!" he says proudly.
"That's good," I reply, unsure of what else to say.
The ship's horn sounds and the crowd starts to get excited. The man next to me is taking of his shirt. " Come, join us," he invites. "It is a tradition, we will swim with the ship as it leaves."
I agree, and take off my shirt and shoes. I tell my wife and son I will meet them back at the hotel, then I dive into the canal. The water is warm, murky, and green with algae. I swim out towards the ship, following the man I was speaking with.
There are several old mossy logs the size of telephone poles floating behind the boat. The locals have tied old hemp ropes onto them, and attached the ropes to the back of the ship. We hold onto these, swimming along behind the boat as it slowly pulls out and makes its way down the canal towards the sea. The crowds on the banks cheer us on our way.
I spot a fruit floating in the water next to me; it looks like a mango. I pick it up with one hand and bite into it, careful not to lose my grip on the log. The fruit is sweet; it tastes excellent. It's a beautiful sunny day. I'm really enjoying this.
Eventually, the ship makes it out of the canal and into the open ocean. By this time most of the swimmers have let go of the logs and are swimming towards shore. The sailors cut the ropes on the logs, forcing the rest of us to swim back, too. We wave as they motor away from us.
I swim towards the breakers. The waves are mild, and they help to push me onto the shore. I sit on the beach, drying in the afternoon sun. It's a beautiful day, and I feel a zen-like oneness with my surroundings. I'm in no hurry; the village is only a short walk from here. I'll head back after I rest a while longer.