The Keyboards

Bangkok, Thailand
20 December 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

The keyboards that were silent are clicking again.

I am back in Bangkok after almost four months in the Americas.  What a four months!

Seeing old friends and making new ones, seeing family (cousins for the very first time), driving US and Canadian highways, and traveling through Colombia - all of this was stimulating and affirming.  I also realize that my relationships with my family and friends are deep and true and loving - more than I ever imagined.  I had a great time wherever I went.  At Thanksgiving, I had a lot to be thankful for.  Thank you.

Then, "life" intervened.

After just two weeks of a planned three-week trip, I woke up one morning in Medellin, Colombia with a severe pain in my right hip, thigh and leg.  I mean so severe that I had to take a taxi one short block to an urgent care clinic, to pose for X-rays and lie under an IV drip with painkillers.  Quickly I flew back to Miami where I saw an orthopedist and had a few chiropractic sessions. 

Here in Bangkok I saw my orthopedist (knee surgery two years ago).  He recommended physical therapy.  I also saw another chiropractor here.  He adjusted my hip.  The consensus of all the Docs is that I strained or stretched or somehow injured a nerve and it is nothing serious.  Just takes time to heal.  So I must be patient.  I pop a pill when I need to.  I bought an elastic abdomen brace.  As of today, I definitely feel like I am on the mend.

Despite my discomfort, I cheerfully anticipated the thirty-hour journey from Miami to Bangkok. Except I had to postpone the departure for several days.  You heard about the political demonstrations that forced the closure of the airports in Bangkok?

Back in Bangkok the real drama began.  My landlord went ballistic on me. (When I figure it out I'll let you know, but don't hold your breath. The whole business was irrational.)  I have never heard such venom and viciousness.  He's a young strong Israeli guy and he became physically threatening.  I am still shaken from the experience.

 I found a new apartment - this one much bigger - in the same building.  The owner of this apartment is a lovely Thai woman and she is amenable to making a number of repairs and upgrades.  My friends here have also been totally supportive and helpful. I trust my life will get back to normal soon.

"Normal" means back to the keyboard to edit photos ( you'll love the shots from the beach at Cartegena) and to write about my most recent travels (if I can remember anything).

"Normal" also means back to the other black and white keyboard.  I brought back lots of my old piano music (if I can remember anything).

When I get my new apartment organized and my leg heals, I'll return to my Thai language lessons (if I can remember anything).

Occasionally, someone asks me, "Jan, what do you do all day?"

As for my next trip?  I haven't a clue.  Maybe down to the beach.  The days and nights are cool now, the sea is warm and the food is hot.

Thailand is 95% Buddhist.  Nevertheless, the Thais do get into the holiday spirit.  Christmas songs blare from the shopping malls.  Tall blue Christmas trees sprout up.  Yes, blue!  And I am looking forward to spinning one of my favorite Cd's's - "A Doo-Wop Christmas" featuring the Drifters (White Christmas) and The Cadillacs (Rudolf).  I also remembered to bring over my Hanukkah menorah and candles.

So, to you all, a cheerful and warm holiday season.

BTW, Thai airports are open and I am guessing that hotels and resorts are "negotiable."  So pull out your own keyboard, move your mouse, click some clicks, and come on over.

Cheers from The Land of Smiles,



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